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VOL.  IV. 



Oxford  University  Press  Warehouse 
Amen  Corner,  E.G. 


535  —  553 




VOL.    IV 



M  DCCC  LXXXV  ^  ^  >^ 

I  All  rights  reserved  ] 

3  I 


V.  M- 





THE    FIKST    TEAK    OF    THE    WAK. 


Authorities      .... 
535         Troops  sent  to   Dalmatia   under   command  of 
Mundus   .  .  .  . 

Belisarius  commander-in-chief  of  Italian  army 

His  subordinate  officers 

Number  of  his  army    , 

Its  composition  and  equipment 

Sicily  occupied 

Palermo  taken 
31  Dec.  53 5  Belisarius  lays  down  the  consulship 

Theodahad's  negotiations  for  peace 

His  strange  letter  to  Justinian 

Ambassadors  sent  to  accept  his  proffered  abdi- 
cation      .... 

Imperial  reverses  in  Dalmatia 

Death  of  Mundus.     Sibylline  prophecy 

Subsequent  history  of  Dalmatia 

Theodahad  goes  back  from  his  bargain 

The  Gothic  nobles  support  him  in  his  resist- 
ance .... 














Authorities     ..... 
536  Belisarius  ordered  at  once  to  invade  Italy 

Delayed  by  tidings  of  the  mutiny  in  Africa     . 

The  Moors  and  the  Imperial  Governor 

The  African  land-question 

The  religious  difficulty 

Return  of  four  hundred  Vandals 

Plot  for  the  murder  of  Solomon 

His  flight  to  Syracuse 

Stutza  leader  of  the  rebels 

Carthage  on  the  point  of  surrendering 

Arrival  of  Belisarius  at  Carthage 

He  defeats  the  rebels  at  the  Bagradas 

He  returns  to  Sicily   . 

After-course  of  the  rebellion 

Death  of  Solomon 

Death  of  Stutza 

Belisarius  sets  foot  in  Italy 

The  Byzantines  in  Magna  Graecia 

Defection  of  Evermud  the  Goth 

Advance  to  Naples      .... 

Comparison  of  ancient  Neapolis  and  modern  Naples 

Siege  operations  of  Belisarius  . 

Speech    of  Stephanus  a  Neapolitan,  and  Belisarius'; 
reply        ..... 

Debates  in  the  city  as  to  surrender :  Pastor  and  Ascle 
piodotus  persuade  to  resistance    . 

Jewish  loyalty  to  the  Goths     .  ^ 

Theodahad's  omen  of  the  hogs 

Vigorous  resistance  of  the  besieged.     Despair  of  Beli 
sarins      .  .  .  .        ■     . 

An  Isaurian   discovers  an  entrance   into   the  Aque- 
duct        ..... 

Belisarius  again  offers  terms  of  capitulation     . 

Preparations  for  the  assault    . 

The  Aqueduct  party   .... 











Contents.  vil 


The  city  taken     ,  .  .  .  .67 

The  citizens  spared  .  .  -  .67 

Fate  of  Pastor  and  Asclepiodotus  .  .  68-69 



Authorities  .  ,  .  .  .71 

Indignation  of  the  Goths  against  Theodahad  .  7 1 

Armed  assembly  at  Regeta  «  .  .71 

Deposition  of  Theodahad  .  .  •  ^3 

Election  of  Witigis  .  .  -  -  73 

Death  of  Theodahad         .  ,  ,  .  75 

Witigis  abandons  Rome,  leaving  a  small  garrison  75 

He  marries  Matasuentha  sister  of  Athalaric  .         78 

He  sends  an  Embassy  to  Constantinople  ,  ,         81 

Part  taken  by  Cassiodorus  .  .  ,81 

Provence  ceded  to  the  Franks      .  .  ,         Z2 



Authorities  .....  83-84 

Slight  information  as  to  movements  of  Belisarius 

after  capture  of  Naples         .  .  084 

Procopius  probably  at  Beneventum  .  .         85 

Consolidation  of  the  Emperor's  power  in  Southern 

Italy  .....         86 

Defection  of  Pitzas  the  Goth        .  .  <  86 

Papal  History:  Felix  III;  Boniface  II;  John  II  87 
Attempt  of  Boniface  to  nominate  Vigilius  as  his 

successor      .  .  .  .  ,         ^% 

Apparent  divergence  between  teaching  of  Hor- 

misdas  and  John  II .  .  .  .89 

535-536  Agapetus  Pope    .  .  .  .  .89 

Agapetus  sent  by  Theodahad  to  Constantinople  .  90 
He  procures  the  removal  of  Anthimus  from  See 

of  Constantinople     .  .  ,  .91 

He  dies  at  Constantinople  .  .  .92 




Silverius  the  new  Pope 

His  message  to  Belisarius 

The  Goths  evacuate  Rome 

Entry  of  Belisarius  into  Rome    . 

Belisarius  at  the  Pincian  Palace 

Preparations  for  defence  of  the  City 

The  Walls  of  Rome 

General  survey  of  Rome  before  the  siege 

Imaginary  progress    of    Procopius    through    the 

City  ....  109-123 

Christian  buildings  of  Rome  :  the  five  Patriarchal 

Churches    ,  .  .  .  124-126 

The  parish  churches  or  Tituli     .  .  .  126 






.  99-106 


Features  of  ecclesiastical  architecture 




Authority  .  .  .  .  .129 
Narni,  Spoleto,  and  Perugia  occupied  by  Im- 
perial troops  ,  .  ,  .  .  130 
Gothic  operations  in  Dalmatia  .  .  .130 
537  Witigis  marches  Southwards  with  150,000  men  131 
Belisarius  concentrates  his  forces  .  .  133 
Skirmish  at  Narni  ,  .  «  -133 
Witigis  at  the  Milvian  Bridge  .  134-136 
Battles    between    the   Milvian  Bridge  and  the 

City- walls.              .             .             .  1 36-1 41 

Belisarius's  arrangements  for  the  night  .  .          141 

Harangue  by  Wacis       .              .              .  .142 

M^i*-537  The  Siege  of  Rome  begun           .             .  .143 

The  Gates  of  the  City    .             .             .  144-145 

The  seven  Gothic  Camps             .              .  145-149 



Authorities        .  .  .  .  . 

A  traveller's  view  of  the  Aqueducts  of  Rome 







Water-supply  before  the  Aqueducts 


j.c.  312 

Ap2)ia         .... 


„      272 

>47izo  Fei5ws 


,,      144 

Marcia       .... 


»      125 

5"e2>«*^«        .... 

.          156 

»    33 

/w^/a  :  Agrippa  as  an  Aqueduct  builder 


»    19 

Aqua  Virgo 

.          158 


Alsietina     .... 


Caligula  as  an  Aqueduct  builder    . 



Claudia  and  Anio  Novus    . 



Trajana     .... 

.          163 

220  (?) 

Alexandrina :  Aqua  Felice 

.          163 

Table  of  the  Aqueducts  of  Frontinus 

.          165 

Maintenance  of  the  Aqueducts 


Reservoirs :  Castella  Aquae  :  pipes 



Appointment  of  Frontinus  as  Curator  Aqua- 

rum    .... 


He  grapples  with  the  abuses  of  the  water- 



Estimates  of  the  total  water-supply  of  Rome 

5          172 

Comparison  with  modern  cities 


How  was  the  water  distributed  1    . 


The  Aqueduct  and  the  Bath 


Gothic  destruction  of  the  Aqueducts 

.          176 

Change  wrought  in  habits  of  Roman  peoph 

3          177 

Note  A.    I.  The    Schedules    of  Frontinus 


showing  the  waste  of  water 

in  the  Aqueducts     . 


II.  Account  of  Distribution  (Era 



III.  Detailed  account  of  expendi- 

ture of  water  for  public  pur- 





Authority  . 

Stoppage  of  the  flour-mills 



Water-mills  on  the  Tiber 

The  Cloacae     .... 

Omen  of  the  Samnite  boys 

Discontent  in  Eome     . 

Gothic  Embassy  to  Belisarius  and  the  Senate 

Gothic  preparations  for  the  assault 

Moveable  towers  :  battering  rams  :  fascines 

Preparations  of  Belisarius  :   Onager ;  Lupus 

Balistae    .... 
Arrangement  of  defending  forces 
The  legend  of  the  Muro  Torto  . 
The  assault  begun 
The  towers  made  useless 
Fighting  at  Porta  Salaria 
At  Porta  Praenestina  (Maggiore) 
Description  of  the  Porta  Maggiore  (Plan) 
Gothic  attack  on  the  Vivarium 
Fighting  at  the  Porta  Aurelia  . 
The  Tomb  of  Hadrian  . 
Gothic  attack  :  the  statues  thrown  down 
Complete  failure  of  the  assault 





196,  197 



Authority         .  .  .  .  .         206 

Letter  from  Belisarius  to  Justinian      .  206-209 

,  \^  Reinforcements  from  Constantinople     .  .         209 

V  Non-combatants  sent  out  of  Rome 

The  Goths  occupy  Portus 

Murder  of  the  hostages 

Timidity  of  the  besiegers 

Defence  of  the  walls     . 

Attempt  of  Pagan  party  to  open  Temple   of 
Janus        .... 
April  537  Imperial  reinforcements  arrive 

Successful  sallies  of  besieged    . 

Witigis  vainly  attempts  to  imitate  their  tactics 

Cause  of  uniform  superiority  of  Imperial  troops 








Soldiers   of  Belisarius   clamour   for    a    pitched 

battle  .  .  .  .  .218 

Harangue  of  Witigis       .  .  .  .219 

Infantry  ask  to  be  employed  by  Belisarius  .         222 

Battle  at  the  Pincian  and  Salarian  Gates  .  223 

Battle  under  Monte  Mario  :  a  tragedy  of  errors  224 

General  rout  of  Imperial  army   .  .  .  228 

Belisarius  reverts  to  his  former  defensive  tactics  228 

Brave  deeds  of  Chorsamantis      .  .  .         229 

Constantine  and  his  Huns  .  .  .         230 

The  Eoman  and  Goth  in  the  corn-magazine         .  231 

June  537  Euthalius  brings  pay  to  the  Imperialists  .         234 

Skirmish  :  exploits  of  Cutila,  Arzes,  and  Buchas  234,  235 
Interesting  surgical  cases  .  .  .         236 




Authorities         .... 

Doubtful  issue  of  the  contest 

Intersection  of  the  Aqueducts  fortified  by  the 

Goths         .... 
Discouragement  in  the  City 
Sibylline  prophecy 
Famine  beginning 

Deputation  from  the  citizens  to  Belisarius 
Reinforcements  promised 
Procopius  despatched  to  Naples 
Antonina  also  sent  thither 
The  Mosaic  of  Theodoric 
Procopius's  description  of  Vesuvius 
Belisarius  hems  in  the  Goths 
Tivoli  occupied  .... 
Basilica  of  St.  Paul  occupied 
Pestilence  in  both  camps 
Return  of  Antonina  to  Rome 
Papal  history.    Theodora's  bargain  with  Vigilius 
Silverius  accused  of  treachery     . 
He  is  summoned  to  the  Pincian  Palace  . 











Silverius  in  exile  .  .  ,  -255 
Fresh  Imperial  troops.  John  nephew  of  Vitalian  256 
The  reinforcements  reach  Ostia  .  .  257 
Gothic  camp  stormed  .  .  .  .260 
Gothic  Embassy  to  Belisarius  .  .  .  261 
Recriminations  between  Goths  and  Belisarius  .  263 
Sicily  and  Britain  :  their  relative  value  .  266 
A  truce  for  three  months  arranged  .  267—270 
Belisarius  revictuals  Rome  .  .  .268 
Gothic  positions  evacuated  .  .  .  270 
John  sent  towards  Picenum  .  .  .  272 
538  Visit  of  Datius  Bishop  of  Milan  .  .  272 
Quarrel  between  Belisarius  and  Constantine  .  273 
Presidius  and  his  daggers  .  .  .274 
Constantine  put  to  death  .  .  .  276 
Goths  attempt  to  enter  by  the  Aqua  Virgo  .  277 
Scheme  for  drugging  the  guards  on  the  river- 
wall  .  .  .  .  .280 
John's  campaign  in  Picenum  .  .  .  281 
He  takes  Rimini  .  .  .  .282 
Mar.  538  The  Goths  raise  the  siege  .  .  .  283 
Battle  at  the  Milvian  Bridge     .              .  .284 



Authority  .... 

538-539  Desultory  warfare 

Sketch  Map  of  Central  Italy  in  538 
Arrangement  of  forces  of  the  combatants 


Belisarius  recalls  John  from  Rimini 
Ildiger  and  Martin  on  the  Flaminian  Way.  Ima- 
ginary stages  of  their  journey         .  291-301 
Description  of  Petra  Pertusa       .             .              .  295 
The  Gothic  garrison  surrender  to  Ildiger  and 

Martin        .....  298 

Description  of  Rimini    ,  .    ,  .  .  301 

John  refuses  to  obey  the  orders  of  Belisarius      .         302 

Siege  of  Rimini  by  Witigis 




Narrow  escape  of  the  garrison  of  Ancona 


Surrender  of  Goths  at  Tuder  and  Clusium     . 


Reinforcements  from  Constantinople 


Narses  the  Eunuch    .... 


Council  of  war  at  Fermo 


Narses  advocates  the  relief  of  Rimini 


Scheme  of  Belisarius  for  this  purpose 


March  of  Belisarius  across  the  mountains 


Arrival  of  the  relieving  columns  and  of  the  fleet 

.                     316 

Deliverance  of  Rimini 

.                     316 

John  refuses  to  thank  any  but  Narses 


Note  B.  On  the  March  of  Belisarius  . 




Authority      ..... 


Party  of  Narses  in  the  Council  of  Generals    . 


Belisarius's  speech     .... 


Reply  of  Narses         .... 


Letter  from  Justinian  :  its  limiting  clause     . 


Temporary  compromise          .              .              .              . 


Urbino  besieged         .... 


Narses  and  John  march  off  to  the  Aemilia     . 


Urbino  surrenders     .... 


Campaign  in  the  Aemilia 


539  Belisarius  takes  Orvieto 


538  Milan  taken  from  the  Goths  . 


Uraias  besieges  the  city 


Martin  and  Uliaris  sent  to  relieve  it 


Their  delays ..... 


John  will  not  help     .... 


539  Narses  gives  way,  but  too  late 


Surrender  of  Milan  :  massacre  of  the  citizens 


The  brothers  of  Vigilius 


Justinian  recalls  Narses 


Note  C.     On  the  Topography  of  Orvieto 






Authority      .  .  .  .  . 

Desolation  of  Italy.     Cannibalism.     Famine 
The  boy  of  Urbs  Salvia 
539  Witigis  sends  an  embassy  to  Persia    . 
Justinian  shows  a  disposition  to  treat 
Siege  of  Fiesol6 
The  Franks  reappear  in  Italy 
They  massacre  the  Goths 
They  plunder  the  Imperialists 
They  breed  a  pestilence 
And  return  to  their  own  land 
Description  of  Osimo 
The  siege  of  Osimo  by  Belisarius 
Advice  of  Procopius  as  to  trumpet-calls 
The  traitor  Burcentius 
The  battle  at  the  well 
Fiesol6  surrenders,  and  then  Osimo    . 










Authorities  ..... 
540  Preparations  for  siege  of  Ravenna 
Embassy  of  the  Franks  to  Ravenna  . 
Witigis  prefers  the  Imperial  to  the  Frankish  alliance 
Uraias  fails  in  attempt  to  relieve  Ravenna  . 
Embassy  from  Constantinople 
Belisarius  over-rules  his  master 
Increasing  famine  in  the  city 
The  Goths  would  make  Belisarius  Emperor  of  the  West 
He  apparently  accepts  their  offer 
His  entry  into  Ravenna 

He  drops  the  mask    .... 
Favourable  treatment  of  Gothic  inhabitants  . 
Later  fortunes  of  Ravenna     . 
Uraias  refuses  the  Gothic  crown 






Ildibad  King  .... 

Last  appeal  to  Belisarius   . 

Retirement  of  Cassiodorus  from  official  life 

His  treatise  on  the  Soul     . 

Monastery  and  hermitage  founded  by  him  at  Squil 
lace    ..... 

The  stream,  the  fish-ponds,  and  the  baths  of  Vi- 
varium .... 

The  book-room       .... 

Cassiodorus  made  his  monastery  a  place  of  intel 
lectual  labour 

"Writings  of  Cassiodorus  in  his  old  age 
573 (^)  His  death  ..... 








Authorities  .  .  .  .  -397 

540  Antioch  taken  by  the  Persians  .  .  .  397 
Arrival  of  Belisarius  at  Constantinople  .  .  398 
The  Gothic  captives  at  Constantinople  .  .  399 
Death  of  Witigis.  Re-marriage  of  Matasuentha  .  399 
Daily  triumph  of  Belisarius  in  the  streets  of  the 

capital  .....         400 

His  appearance  and  character        .  .  .401 

Infidelities  of  Antonina      ....  403 

541  Departure  of  Belisarius  for  the  East  .  .         404 
His  punishment  of  Antonina  and  her  lover  .  405 
John  of  Cappadocia,  his  character  and  financial  ad- 
ministration ....               406-409 

His  domestic  life  ....  409-412 

His  ambitious  schemes  and  belief  in  diviners  .         412 

Theodora's  dislike  to  him  .              .             .  .414 

John's  jealousy  of  Belisarius            .              .  .          414 

Antonina  by  a  plot  achieves  his  ruin          .  415-418 

Hardships  of  his  exile        .             .             .  .418 

Antonina  in  favour  with  Theodora              .  .         419 

Belisarius  humbled              .              .              .  .420 

Abolition  of  the  Consulship  by  Justinian    .  .         421 






May  toOct.(?) 




Authority  .  ..  ,  , 

Confusion  in  Italy  after  departure  of  Beli- 

No  supreme  commander 
Financial  oppression 
The  Logothetes     . 
*  Alexander  the  Scissors 
The  soldiery  alienated 
Wrongs  of  the  provincials 
The  Gothic  cause  revives 
Defeat  of  Vitalius 
Dissensions  between  the  wives  of  Ildibad 

and  TJraias    . 
Death  of  Uraias    . 
Assassination  of  Ildibad 
Reign  of  Eraric  the  Rugian 
The  Goths   turn   to   Baduila,  nephew  of 

Baduila,  better  known  as  Totila,  chosen 

Death  of  Eraric    . 
Character  of  Totila 
Unsuccessful  attempt  by  Imperial  generals 

on  Verona     ,  .  .  439-442 

Battle  of  Faenza.     Victory  of  Totila  442-445 

Totila  in  Tuscany.     Florence  besieged       .  446 

Battle  of  Mugello.     Victory  of  Totila       .  447 

Central  and  Southern  Italy  opened  to  the 

Goths  ....         448 

Totila  besieges  Naples       .  .  .         449 

Inaction  and  timidity  of  Imperial  generals  449 

Maximin  commander-in-chief        .  .  450 

Vain  endeavours  to  relieve  Naples  450-454 

Surrender  of  Naples  .  .  .  455 

Humanity  of  Totila  .  .  .  455 

The  fortifications  of  Naples  demolished     .         456 








XVI 1 

Totila's  severity  towards  a  Gothic  criminal    . 
544  Despairing  message  of  Imperial  generals  to  Justinian 
Totila's  letter  to  the  Roman  Senate  . 
Totila  besieges  Rome  and  Otranto     . 
Justinian  decides  to  send  Belisarius  back  to  Italy 






Authorities    . 

The  world-wide  fame  of  Benedict 

Pope  Gregory's  biography  of  him 

His  birth-place  and  his  boyhood 

Flight  from  Rome 

First  miracle 

Life  as  an  anchorite  at  Subiaco 

Abbot  of  Vicovaro     . 

He  returns  to  the  wilderness 

St.  Maurus  and  St.  Placidus  . 

Machinations  of  Florentius    . 

Benedict  migrates  to  Monte  Cassino 

Miracles  of  the  Saint 

His  contests  with  the  Evil  One 

The  Mediaeval  Devil . 

Social  conditions  of  the  time 

Benedict's  interview  with  Totila 

Death  of  Scholastica,  sister  of  Benedict 

The  heavenly  vision  . 

Death  of  Benedict 

His  Rule  the  reason  of  his  surpassing  fame 












The  unhappiness  of  Belisarius 
542  Plague  of  Constantinople 

Justinian's  sickness  and  recovery 
Mutual  accusations  of  the  generals 
VOL.  IV.  b 





Theodora's  vengeance  on  Buzes  .             .             •  503 

Disgrace  of  Belisarius    ....  504 

His  military  household  broken  up           .             .  506 
Theodora  determines  to  reconcile  Belisarius  and 

Antonina    .....  5^7 

Her  letter  to  Belisarius .             .             .             .  509 

The  reconciliation           ....  509 

Procopius  probably  condemned  this  reconciliation  510 

Partial  restoration  of  Belisarius  to  favour            .  511 



Authorities         .  .  .  .  '513 

May  544  Preparations  of  Belisarius  .  .  .         513 

Junction  with  Vitalius    .  .  .  •         5^3 

Relief  of  Otranto  .  .  .  .514 

Belisarius  at  Ravenna  :  Totila  near  Rome  .         515 

The  Illyrian  foederati  desert  and  return  to  their 

own  land    .  .  .  .  .516 

545  Relief  of  Osimo  .  .  •  .  .  .  517 
Pesaro  adroitly  refortified  .  .  .  518 
Piteous  letter  from  Belisarius  to  Justinian  .  519 
John  at  Constantinople.     He  marries  Justinian's 

niece  .  .  .  .  .521 

Belisarius  and  John  meet  at  Dyrrhachium  .         521 

Totila  lays  formal  siege  to  Rome  :  Bessas         ,  .         522 

546  Valentine  slain  at  Portus  .  .  .  525 
The  corn-ships  of  Vigilius  boarded  by  the  Goths  526 
Placentia  surrendered  to  the  Goths  .  .  526 
Famine  in  Rome.  Pelagius  ambassador  to  Totila  527 
Three  points  reserved  by  Totila  .  528-529 
Reply  of  Pelagius  .  .  .  -530 
Misery  of  the  Roman  citizens.     The  hard  heart 

of  Bessas  the  governor         .  .  530~534 

Dispute  between  John  and  Belisarius      .  .  535 

Belisarius  at  Portus        .  .  .  .         536 

John  recovers  Bruttii  and  Lucania         .  .  537 

John  is  stopped  by  Totila's  horsemen  at  Capua  .         537 






Description  of  Ostia  . 

Description  of  Portus 

The  Tiber  barred  by  the  Goths 

Belisarius  attempts  to  force  the  passage 

Isaac's  rashness  turns  the  victory  of  Belisarius 

into  defeat  ....         549 

Sickness  of  Belisarius  .  .  .         549 

Demoralisation  of  the  garrison  in  Rome  .         550 

Procopius's  remarks  on  the  conduct  of  Bessas  552 

1 7  Dec.  545  The  Porta  Asinaria  opened  to  Totila  by  Isau- 

rian  deserters    .  .  .  553-555 

The  Goths  in  Rome  .  .  .  '556 




Flight  of  Bessas  and  Conon    . 

Ravages  of  the  Gothic  soldiery 

Totila  at  St.  Peter's.    Interview  with  Pelagius 

The  widow  of  Boethius 

Totila's  harangue  to  the  Goths 

And  to  the  Senate     . 

His  letter  to  Justinian 

His  presence  required  in  Lucania 

He  throws  down  part  of  the  walls  of  Rome 

Belisarius  dissuades  him  from  destroying  the 

City       .... 
Could  Rome  have  been  entirely  obliterated  % 







Authorities    .  .  .  .  '570 

547         Totila  marches  into  Lucania  .              .  .  570 

Spoleto  lost  to  the  Goths        .             .  •  57^ 

John  at  Tarentum :  Totila  garrisons  Acheron  tia  572 

Rome  for  forty  days  without  inhabitants  .  572 

Belisarius  decides  to  re-occupy  Rome  .  573 




A.D.  :^age; 

Totila  retiu-iis  and  is  repulsed  from  the  walls         575 
Discontent  of  the  Goths  with  Totila  .  .         576 

He  retires  to  Tivoli  .  .  .  -577 

The  keys  of  Eome  sent  to  Justinian  .  .         577 

Limits  of  Gothic  and  Imperial  occupation     .  579 

Justinian  starves  the  war       .  .  '579 

Discord  in  the  Imperial  army  .  .  580 

John's  dash   into   Campania.     The   Senators 

liberated  .  .  .  .581 

Totila  attacks  John.     He  retreats  to  Otranto  583 

547-549       Two  years  of  desultory  fighting  .  .  583 

Incapable  Imperial  officers.    Verus  :  Valerian  584 

Siege  of  Roscianum  by  Totila  .  584-589 

Sybaris  and  Crotona  »  .  .  585 

Surrender  of  Eoscianum         .  .  .  589 

June  548      Humiliating  position  of  Belisarius      .  .  590 

Mission  of  Ahtonina  to  Constantinople  .         590 

j  July  548  Death  of  Theodora     ....         590 

Antonina  obtains  the  recall  of  Belisarius         .  591 

Latter  days  of  Belisarius        .  .  592-604 

559        The  Kotrigur  Huns  invade  Thrace     .  .         592 

Alarm  in  Constantinople.     Inefficiency  of  the 

Scholarii  .  .  .  -595 

Belisarius  aj)pointed  to  the  chief  command     .  597 

His  curious  stratagems  .  .  .         598 

Victory  over  the  Huns  .  .  .  599 

Return  to  Constantinople       .  .  .  600 

562  Accused  of  conspiring  against  Justinian  .  601 
Disgraced       .....  602 

563  Restored  to  favour     .  .  .  .602 
Death  of  Belisarius    ....         603 
Note  D.     On  the  alleged  Blindness  and  Beg- 
gary of  Belisarius            .              .  605-608 




Capture  of  Perugia  by  Totila 


Contents,  xxi 


Mutiny  of  the   garrison    in    Rome.     Death  of 

Conon         .  .  .  ,  .610 

Totila's  suit  for  a  Frankish  princess       ,  610-613 

Frankish    legitimacy.      Prerogative    of   coining 

gold  .  ,  .  .  .611 

549  Totila   presses   the    siege  of  Rome.     Diogenes 

Imperial  Commandant  .  ,  ,  613 
Isaurians  open  the  Gate  of  St.  Paul  to  the  Goths         615 

Escape  of  Diogenes         .             .             .  .615 

Defence  of  the  Tomb  of  Hadrian             .  .         616 

Rome  re-edified               .             .             ,  ,618 

Totila's  Embassy  to  Justinian     .             .  .         619 

Summons  to  Centumcellae  to  surrender  ,         619 

550  Fall  of  Rhegium              ,             .             .  .620 
550-551   Sicily  ravaged  and  then  evacuated         .  .         620 

549  Justinian   vacillates.      Liberius   commander-in- 

chief  .  .  0  .  .         622 

550  Artabanes  commander  in  Sicily .  .  .         622 
Expectation  of  arrival  of  Germanus        .             .         623 



Authorities         .  .  ,  ,  .625 

Genealogy  of  Justinian  .  .  .  .624 

Character  of  Justinian's  nephew,  Germanus  .  625 
Theodora's  enmity  to  him  .  .  .626 

Grievances  of  Artabanes  .  -  -  627 

Grievances  of  Arsaces    ,  .  .  .628 

548       These  two  attempt  to  draw  Germanus  into  a 

conspiracy  against  his  uncle  ,  .         630 

Germanus  consults  Marcellus     .  ,  .         631 

The  conspiracy  disclosed.  The  Senate  summoned  633 
Germanus  accused  of  complicity,  but  honourably 

acquitted  .....  634 
Wars  with  barbarians  :  Gepids,  Lombards,  Scla- 

vonians       .  ,  «  .  636-638 

550       Germanus  commander-in-chief  for  Italian  war  .         638 

He  marries  Matasuentha  .  «  .         639 




He  beats  back  the  Sclavonians 
His  death        ..... 
Matasuentha  bears  a  posthumous  son 
Fortunes  of  Germanus  Postumus  and  his  family 
Extinction  of  the  Amal  line    . 





Authorities     ....  645-646 

Early  career  of  Vigilius  .  .  .         647 

537         Made  Pope  on  the  deposition  of  Silverius        .         649 

His  letter  to  the  Monophysite  Patriarchs        .         651 

Refuses  to  obey  Theodora's  bidding    .  .         653 

Accused  of  homicide  ....         653 

545         Arrested  by  emissary  of  Theodora      .  .         654 

Resides  in  Sicily         .  .  .  '655 

546-7       Sails  for  Constantinople  .  .  .         655 

Controversy  of  the  Three  Chajyters        .  656-684 

Its  political  importance    -       .  .  .         656 

Theodore  of  Mopsuestia  .  .  .         657 

Theodoret  of  Cyrrhus  .  .  .  658 

Ibas  of  Edessa  ....         659 

544  C?)       Edict  of  Justinian  against  the  Three  Chapters         661 

Qualified  acceptance  of  the  Edict  in  the  East         663 

5  Jan.  547  Arrival  of  Pope  Vigilius  at  Constantinople     .         665 

He  and  Mennas,  Patriarch  of  Constantinople, 

excommunicate  one  another         .  .         665 

548         In   his  Judicatum   he    condemns   the  Three 

Chapters  .  .  .  .666 

Mutiny  of  the  Western  Ecclesiastics  .  .         667 

550         The  African  Bishops  excommunicate  Vigilius  668 

A  General  Council  convened  .  .  .         669 

551  (?)       The  Emperor's  second  Edict  .  .  .670 

Mennas  and  Theodore  of  Csesarea  excommuni- 
cated by  the  Pope  .  .  .         670 
Vigilius  takes  refuge  in  Basilica  of  St.  Peter  .         671 
Attempt  to  arrest  him.     Scandalous  scene      .         672 

Contents,  xxiii 


Belisarius   and  other  Senators  swear  for  his 

safety       .              .              .              .              .  674 

Vigilius  returns  to  his  palace               .             .  675 
His  second  flight.     He  takes  refuge  at  Chal-'^ 

cedon      .             .             .             .              .676 
Angry  letters  between  Pope  and  Emperor      .  677 
5  May  553   The  Fifth  General  Council  meets  at  Constan- 
tinople   .             .             .              .             .678 
The  Pope  will  not  preside       .             .             .  679 
The  Council  condemns  the  Three  Chapters     .  679 
14  May      The  Pope  in  his  Constitutum  defends  them     .  680 
Vigilius  anathematised  by  the  Council             .  681 
He  is  banished  to  Proconnesus            .              .  681 
8  Dec.       He  surrenders  and  writes  a  letter  of  retracta- 
tion        .....  682 
2 3 Feb.  554  He  issues  a  new  Constitutum  condemning  the 

Three  Chapters  .             .             .             .683 
7  Jan.  555  On  his  return  journey  to  Italy  he  dies  in  Sicily  683 
Mistakes  of  the  Pope :  difficulties  of  his  posi- 
tion        .....  685 



Authority       .  .  .  .  .688 

Justinian  disgusted  with  the  war        .  .         688 

551  Narses  General-in-chief :  his  character  689-692 

He  is  hindered  by  a  Hunnish  invasion  .         692 

Effect  on  Totila  of  news  of  his  appointment    .         693 
Fleet  of  Totila  ravages  coast  of  Greece  .         694 

John  and  Valerian  determine  to  raise  siege  of 

Ancona  .....  694 
Sea-fight  off  Sinigaglia.  The  Goths  defeated  695-698 
Final  loss  of  Sicily  by  the  Goths         .  .         698 

Ineffectual  attempt  of  Imperial  forces  on  Sar- 
dinia      .....         699 
Goths  and  Franks       .  .  .  .699 

Totila's  overtures  to  Justinian  .  .  700 

Justinian's  embassy  to  the  Franks      .  .  701 





552  Crotona  relieved  by  Justinian 



The  army  of  Narses :  Heruli,  Lombards,  Huns 



Teias  at  Verona         .... 


March  of  Narses  round  the  head  of  the  Hadriatic 


Skirmish  at  Rimini :  Usdrilas  slain  . 


Line  of  march  chosen  by  Narses 


Movements  of  Totila.     The  armies  meet 


Description  of  the  battle-field 


The  site  of  the  battle  probably  near  Scheggia 


The  battle  of  the  Apennines 



Totila's  display  of  horsemanship 


Defeat  of  the  Goths  .... 


Flight  and  death  of  Totila     . 



Note  E.     On  the  Site  of  the  Battle  of  552    . 





Authorities    ..... 


Narses  gets  rid  of  his  Lombard  allies 


Teias  crowned  King  of  the  Goths 


Surrender  of  Gothic  fortresses 


Tarentum  not  surrendered    . 


Rome  taken   ..... 


Hard  fate  of  the  Roman  Senators 


Siege  of  Cumae          .... 


Teias  marches  Southwards    . 


The  armies  face  one  another  on  the  Sarno  for 


months  ..... 


The  Goths  retire  to  Mons  Lactarius  . 


553  The  last  battle,  near  the  Sarno 



Teias  slain     ..... 


The  Goths  offer  to  leave  Italy 


Narses  accepts  their  offer 


Vale,  atque  in  aeternum  vale,  Italia ! 




Justinian  and  his  Courtiers 

Map  of  Europe,  a.d,  535     . 

Map  of  Italy  .... 

Map  of  Naples         .... 

Map  of  Eome  .... 

Corridor  inside  the  Walls  of  Rome 

Map  of  the  Roman  Aqueducts 

Specus  of  the  Anio  Novus  and  Aqua  Claudia  as 
above  the  Porta  Maggiore 

The  Muro  Torto      .... 

Porta  Maggiore  (exterior) . 

Plan  of  the  Walls  of  Rome  near  the  Porta  Maggi 

Sketch  Map  of  Central  Italy  in  538 

Petra  Pertusa         .... 

Map  of  Portus  and  Ostia   . 

Porta  Asinaria       .... 

Map.     Via  Flaminia,  Spoletium  to  Ariminum 



.  To  precede  pa^e  i 

To  face  page  25 

Betiveen  pages  48,  49 

Between  pages  96,  97 

Between  pages  104,  105 

Between  pages  152,  153, 

Between  pages  160,  161 

Between  pages  190,  19E 

Between  pages  194,  195 

ore        .  .     Page  i^*j 

.     Page  287 

Between  pages  294,  295 

.     To  fuce  page  c^ic) 

Between  pages  t^Z2,  553 

.     To  face  page  711 


P.  9,  line  19,  for  'twelve'  read  'eleven/ 

On  pages  5,  63,  and  64,  for  'Eunes'  read  'Ennes;'  and  p.  222 
for  '  Eunas '  read  also  '  Ennes.' 

P.  39,  marginal  note,  for  'Bagrad^«s'  read  'Bagradas.' 

P.  92,  1.  14,  for  '21st'  read  *  22nd.' 

P.  144,  transpose  order  of  Porta  Praenestina  and  Porta  Labi- 
cana,  in  List  of  Gates,  the  Praenestina  being  the  more  northerly 
of  the  two. 

P.  163,  1.  3.  According  to  S.  Lanciani  (Acque  e  Acquedotti, 
p.  163),  Trajan  did  not  bring  in  his  aqueduct  the  water  of  the 
Sabatine  Lake  itself,  but  the  intercepted  waters  of  some  of  the 
mountain  streams  that  feed  it.  His  object  was  to  provide  potable 
water  for  the  inhabitants  of  the  Trastevere,  who  would  only  drink 
that  supplied  to  them  from  the  Alsietine  Lake  in  case  of  extreme 

P.  190,  1.  I.  The  name  of  Peranius  should  be  in  Roman  not 
Italic  letters. 

P.  240,  1.  2,  for  '  Anio  Vetus'  read  'Anio  Novus.' 

P.  488,  1.  13  from  bottom,  'Ruderic  and  Blidi.'  Probably  these 
two  Counts  in  attendance  upon  Totila  are  the  same  as  the  com- 
manders of  the  troops  sent  to  form  the  siege  of  Florence  (see 
p.  446,  n.  i).  This  is  an  interesting  coincidence,  as  probably  Pope 
Gregory  had  not  read  the  Histories  of  Procopius. 

P.  518,  11.  2  and  3,  dele  '  Thorimuth  and  Sabinian  in  the 
number '  and  insert  these  words  after  '  relieving  army.'  (These 
two  officers  were  not  slain  but  escaped.) 

P.  538,  note.  Quaere  as  to  the  correctness  of  the  first  sentence. 
Reggio  was  evidently  Imperial  three  years  after,  as  it  had  then  to 
be  taken  by  Totila.     See  p.  619. 

P.  609,  1.  9,  dele  '  Isaurian '  before  '  Conon.'  Though  we  fre- 
quently read  of  this  officer  as  commanding  Isaurian  soldiers,  I  am 

xxviii  Additions  and  Corrections. 

not  sure  that  we  have  any  evidence  that  he  himself  belonged  to 
that  nation. 

Pp.  6 1 2  and  613,  for  '  Theudebert '  read  '  Theudibert.' 
P.  615,  1.  5,  for  'One  of  the  bravest  soldiers,'  etc.  read,  *A 
gallant  Cilician,  who  bore  the  name  of  his  great  countryman  Paul, 
and  who  after  acting  for  some  time  as  superintendent  of  the  house- 
hold of  Belisarius,  now  commanded  a  troop  of  cavalry  under 
Diogenes,  collected  a  band,'  etc.  </ 




THE    FIEST    YEAR   OF   THE    WAR. 


Sources : — 

Procopius  de  Bello  Gotthico,  i.  5-7  ;  ii.  26-38.  BOOK  V. 

(When  quotations  are  made  thus,  ii.  26,  the  reference     ^^'  ^' 
is  to  the  volume  and  page  of  the  Bonn  edition.     When 
they  are   made  thus,  De  Bell.  Gottb.  i.  5,  the  reference 
is  to  the  book  and  chapter  of  the  History  of  the  Gothic 

It  was  'a  truceless  war'  which  Justinian's  am- The Truce- 
bassador  had  denounced  against  the  cringing 
Theodahad  when  he  heard  of  the  murder  of  Amal- 
asuntha.  And  in  truth  all  the  schemings  and 
machinations  of  the  Byzantine  Court  had  been 
rewarded  beyond  their  deservings  by  as  fair  and 
honourable  an  excuse  for  war  as  ever  prince  could 
allege.  Lilybseum  and  Gratiana,  Sicilian  forts  and 
Hunnish  deserters,  had  all  faded  into  the  back- 
ground. The  great  Emperor  now  appeared  upon 
the  scene  in  his  proper  character  as  Earthly  Pro- 

VOL.  IV.  B 

2  The  First  Year  of  the  War, 

EOOK  V.  vidence,  pi  epariDg  to  avenge,  on  an  ungrateful  and 
^■_ll_  cowardly  tyrant,  the  murder  of  the  noble  daughter 
^^^"  of  Theodorlc.  The  pretext  was  better  than  that 
put  forth  for  the  Vandal  War,  the  foe  infinitely 
baser.  At  the  same  time  it  might  perhaps  be  dis- 
covered that,  notwithstanding  the  ambassador's 
brave  words  about  a  truceless  war,  the  Earthly 
Providence  was  not  unwilling  to  arrange  terms 
with  the  murderer  if  it  could  secure  any  advantage 
for  itself  by  doing  so. 

In  the  summer  of  535,  nine  years  after  Justi- 
nian's accession  to  the  throne  \  the  armies  were 
sent  forth  from  Constantinople,  and  tlie  Gothic 
War  began. 

Troops  Troops,  the  number  of  whom  is  not  stated,  but 

sent  to 

Daimatia.  probably  uot  more  than  3000  or  4000,  were  sent 
by  land  to  invade  the  great  Gothic  province  of 
Daimatia,  on  the  east  of  the  Hadrlatic.  This  pro- 
vince (as  was  explained  in  a  previous  volume^) 
was  larger  than  the  present  kingdom  of  Daimatia, 
since  it  included  also  a  good  deal  of  Bosnia  and 
Herzegovina.  Its  capital  was  still  Salona,  that 
great  city  close  to  which  rose  the  vast  palace  of 
Diocletian  (now  represented  by  half  of  the  modern 
town  of  Spalato),  the  city  where  Nepos  reigned 
after  he  had  been  driven  from  the  halls  of  the  Pa- 
latine, where  his  rival  Glycerins  chanted  mass  in 

"^  Justinian's  reign  commenced  April  i,  526.     The  words  of 

Procopius  do  not  necessarily  imply  that  the  war  began  on  the 

ninth   anniversary  of  the  accession,  and  Peter's  report  of  his 

mission  could  hardly  reach  Constantinople  till  June,  535. 
2  Y()i^  i  p^  2^5^ 

The  Ai^my  of  Dalmatia.  3 

the  basilica,  where  Odovacar  avenged  his  murder  book  v. 

Ch.  1. 

bv  the  death  of  Ovida  and  Viator.  '— 

The  commander   of  the  Dalmatian   army  was  Mundus 
himself  a  barbarian  by  birth,  a  Gepid  of  the  name  fhe  Daima- 
of  Mundus ;    a  man  whose  fiery  valour  was  not  ^^^^  ^^^^' 
chilled  by  age,  and  who  was  heartily  loyal  to  the 
Emperor  ^     It  was  Mundus  who,  during  the  sedi-      532. 
tion  of  the  Nika,  when  the  throne  of  Justinian 
seemed  rocking  to  its  overthrow,  had  penetrated 
with  a  band  of  Heruli  to  the  Hippodrome,  w^here 
Hypatius  at  that  moment  was  being  saluted  as 
Emperor,  and  had,  in  co-operation  with  Belisarius, 
by  a  ruthless  massacre  of  the  insurgents,  succeeded 
in  stamping  out  the  rebellion.     At  the  outset  of 
the   present  campaign  his  operations  were  com- 
pletely successful.      The   Goths  who  met  his  in- 
vading army  were  defeated,  and  he  marched  on  to 
Salona,  which  he  entered  unopposed. 

The  chief  interest,  however,  was  excited  by  the  Belisarius 
Italian  expedition,  commanded  by  Belisarius,  the  er-in-chief 
successful   combatant  with  Persia,  the  conqueror  lian  army. 
of  Africa — Belisarius  who  had  been  drawn  a  few 
months  before  in   his  triumphal  car  through   the 
streets  of  Constantinople,  and  who  now,  sole  Consul 
for  the   year,  was   setting   forth  to  gather  fresh 
laurels  in  the  country  where  the  Marcelli  and  the 
Fabii  gathered  theirs  eight  centuries  ago. 

^  Clinton  thinks  that  this  Mundus  is  the  same  as  the  Mundo, 
grandson    of  Attila,    whom,    in    the    war    of   Sirmium,    Theo-       505. 
doric's  troops  delivered  from  the  Byzantine  general  Sabinianus 
(vol.  iii.  p.  439).     This  is  possible,  but   does  not  to  me  seem 

B  2 

4  The  First  Year  of  the  War, 

BOOKv.       The  chief  generals  under  Belisarius  were  Con- 

Ch.  1 

stantine,  Bessas,  and  Peranius.  Constantine  was  a 
jj.g^^^'  native  of  Thrace,  a  brave  and  strenuous  lieutenant 
generals:  ^f  ^^  great  commandor,  but  rapacious,  fierce,  and 
tine,  not  imbued  with  the  soldierly  instinct  of  subordi- 

nation, as  was  eventually  proved  by  the  strange 
events  which  ended  his  career. 
Bessas,  Bcssas  also  came  from  Thrace,  but  was  of  Gothic 

descent,  and  we  are  expressly  told^  that  he  was 
*  one  of  the  race  who  had  of  old  dwelt  in  Thrace, 
but  did  not  follow  Theodoric/  He  too,  though 
brave  and  warlike,  showed  on  a  critical  occasion 
a  selfish  and  grasping  nature,  which  preferred  its 
own  ignoble  gains  to  military  duty  and  the  most 
obvious  interests  of  the  Empire  I 
Peranius.  Perauius  camc  from  the  far  east  of  the  Empire. 
He  was  the  eldest  son  of  Gurgenes,  king  of  Iberia, 
part  of  that  province  between  Caucasus  and  Ararat 
which  we  now  call  Georgia.  In  the  course  of  the 
525.  endless  tussle  between  the  Homan  Emperor  and  the 

Persian  King,  Iberia  was  invaded  by  the  Persian 
army;  and  Gurgenes,  finding  himself  unable  to 
defend  his  dominions,  and  disappointed  of  the 
expected  help  from  Justinian,  fled  to  the  moun- 
tains which  divided  his  country  from  Colchis,  and 
there  seems  to  have  maintained  a  straitened  but 
honourable  independence.  As  the  dynasty  was 
Christiau,  its  princes  naturally  inclined  to  Constan- 

^  Procopius,  De  Bell,  Gotth.  i.  16;  iL  81. 
2  The  career  of  Bessas  suggests  some  points  of  comparison 
with  that  of  Marshal  Bazaine. 

Belisarius  and  his  Staff,  5 

tinople  rather  than  to  Ctesiphon.     Thus   it  was  book  v. 
that  Peranius  entered  the  service  of  the  Emperor,        ' 

in   which   he   soon   rose  to  all   but   the    highest      ^^^' 

The  subordinate  officers  were — of  the  cavalry,  Subordin- 
Va3  entine,  Magnus,  and  Innocentius ;  of  the  infantry, 
Herodian,  Paulus,  Demetrius,  and  Ursicinus;  none 
of  vdiom  require  at  present  any  special  notice  on 
our  part.  The  commander  of  the  Isaurian  contin- 
gent was  named  Eunes.  Belisarius  was  attended 
by  a  large  body-guard  of  tried  and  daring  soldiers ; 
and,  in  a  capacity  perhaps  resembling  that  of  a 
modern  aide-de-camp,  Photius,  Antoniua's  son  by  a 
former  marriage,  accompanied  his  renowned  step- 

The  total  number  of  the  army  which  was  settins:  Number  of 
forth  to  reconquer  Italy  was  only  7500  men, 
scarcely  more  than  the  equivalent  of  one  legion 
out  of  the  thirty  which  followed  Csesar  s  foot- 
steps. How  it  figured  on  the  muster-rolls  of  the 
Empire  it  is  not  easy  to  say.  We  are  told  that 
there  were  4000  soldiers  'of  the  Catalogues  and 
the  Foederati,'  3000  Isaurians,  200  confederate 
Huns,  and  300  Moors.  The  '  Catalogues  ^  must  in 
some  way  represent  the  dwindled  Legions  ;  as  the 
Foederati,  drawn  perhaps  from  the  medley  of  Teu- 
tonic and  Slavonic  peoples  who  roamed  along  the 
banks  of  the  Lower  Danube,  represent  the  8ocii  of 
the  early  days  of  Eome.  It  will  be  observed  by 
the  reader  how  large  a  proportion  the  gallant 
Isaurian  highlanders,  those  Swiss  of  the  Byzantine 

6  The  First  Year  of  the  War. 

BOOKV.  empire,  bore  to  the  whole  army,  and  we  shall  have 
.  ^^'  ^'     frequent  occasion  in  the  course  of  the  war  to  notice 
^^^*      the  service  rendered  to  Belisarius  by  their  moun- 
taineering skill  and  headlong  bravery. 
The  army       After  all,  the  armament,  though  it  gloried  in  the 
nominally  title  of  Romau,  and  was  sometimes  called  Greek  in 
derision  by  its  enemies,  was  Eoman  or  Greek  only 
in  name.      It  was    essentially  a  barbarian   band. 
Every  great  exploit  which  we  hear  of  in  connection 
with  it  was  performed,  as  a  rule,  by  some  Gepid,  or 
Herul,  or  Isaurian.     But  the  barbaric  strength  and 
stolid  stalwart  courage  of  the  soldiers  were  directed 
by  generals  who  still  cherished  some  of  the  tradi- 
tions of  scientific  warfare  which  had  been  elaborated 
in  the  twelve  centuries  of  the  Roman  Republic  and 
Empire;  and  at  the  centre  of  the  whole  machine 
was  the  busy  brain  of  Belisarius,  a  man  of  infinite 
resource  and  patience  as  well  as  courage,  and  cer- 
tainly one  of  the  greatest  strategists  that  the  world 
has  ever  seen. 
Cavalry  The  studcut  who  rcmcmbcrs  how  the  battles  of 

the  chief 

arm.  Republican  Rome  were  generally  won,  namely,  by 

the  disciplined  valour  of  the  heavy-armed  foot- 
soldiers  of  the  Legion,  experiences  some  surprise 
when  he  finds  that  the  victories  of  Belisarius  were 
chiefly  won  by  his  cavalry,  armed  with  the  bow  and 
arrow,  a  force  which,  as  has  been  already  observed, 
may  perhaps  be  compared  to  the  mounted  rifles  of 
a  modern  army,  but  which  certainly  five  centuries 
before  was  more  celebrated  in  the  tactics  of  Parthia 
than  in  those  of  Rome. 

Imperial  Moimted  Cavalry.  7 

At  the  outset  of  the  first  campaign  it  may  be  book  v. 
mteresting  to  quote  from  a  later  page  of  Proco- 

pius^  the  reasons  which  Belisarius  himself,  in  con- ^^ J^^^^^^ 
versation  with  his  friends,  assigned  for  the  lons^^^^^i^- 

'  ^  ^  ^  tones 

series  of  victories  which  he  had  then  achieved  over  which 

the  Goths  : was  to  win. 

'  In  public  the  Komans  naturally  expressed  their  The  Goths 

.  ...  had  no 

wonder   at   the   genius    of   Belisarius  w^iich   had  force  of 

1  .  1  .  .  .  1  •       f»  •         1     mounted 

achieved  such  a  victory,  but  in  private  his  iriends  bowmen. 
[no  doubt  including  Piocopius  himself]  enquired 
of  him  what  was  the  token  which,  in  the  first  day 
of  successful  engagement  with  the  enemy,  had  led 
him  to  conclude  that  in  this  war  he  should  be 
uniformly  victorious.  Then  he  told  them  that,  at 
the  beginning,  when  the  engagement  had  been 
limited  to  a  few  men  on  each  side,  he  had  studied 
what  were  the  characteristic  differences  of  each 
army,  in  order  that  when  the  battles  commenced  on 
a  larger  scale  he  might  not  see  his  small  army 
overwhelmed  by  sheer  force  of  numbers.  The 
chief  difierence  which  he  noted  was  that  all  the 
Romans  and  their  Hunnish  allies  were  good  archers 
on  horseback.  The  Goths,  on  the  other  hand,  had 
none  of  them  practised  this  art.  Their  cavalry 
fought  only  with  javelins  and  swords,  and  their 
archers  were  drawn  up  for  battle  as  infantry,  and 
covered  by  the  cavalry.  Thus  the  horsemen,  un- 
less the  battle  became  a  hand-to-hand  encounter, 
having  no  means  of  replying  to  a  discharge  of 
weapons  from  a  distance,  were  easily  thrown  into 
^  ii.  128-9. 

8  The  First  Year  of  the  War, 

BOOK  V.  confusion  and  cut  to  pieces,  while  the  foot-soldiers, 

^^'^'     though  able  to  reply  to  a  volley  of  arrows  from 

^^^'      a  distance,  could  not  stand  against  sudden  charges 

of  horse.     For  this  reason  Belisarius  maintained 

that  the  Goths  in  these  encounters  would  always 

be  worsted  by  the  Eomans/ 

Easyoccu-       As  yct,  howevor,  there  was  little  opportunity  for 

sfciT^^  the  display  of  military  skill  on  the  part  of  Beli- 
sarius, for  his  first  laurels  were  all  easily  gathered, 
in  the  region  of  politics  rather  than  of  war.  His 
instructions  were  to  land  in  Sicily,  nominally 
again  making  of  that  island  only  a  house  of  call  on 
his  way  to  Carthage  :  if  he  found  that  he  could 
occupy  the  island  with  little  trouble  he  was  to  do 
so,  but  if  there  was  likely  to  be  tough  opposition 
he  was  to  leave  it  for  the  present  and  proceed  to 
Africa.  The  former  alternative  was  that  which  he 
adopted.  He  found  the  Sicilians  all  ready  and 
eager  to  become  subjects  of  the  Emperor.  Catana, 
Syracuse  \  and  every  other  city  in  Sicily,  opened 

except  her  gates  to  him.  Only  in  Panormus  (Palermo) 
was  there  a  Gothic  garrison  strong  enough  to  op- 
pose the  wishes  of  the  inhabitants ;  and  to  the  siege 
of  Palermo  he  now  addressed  himself. 

TheGotha       This  eager  defection  of  the  islanders  from  the 

deeply  re-  .  . 

sent  the     Gothic  rulo  was  a  deep  disappomtment  to  their 

of  the  sici-  late  lords,  and  was  long  and  bitterly  remembered 

by  them.     Sicily  was  still  rich  in  the  wealth  that 

had  been  stored  vip  there  since  the  days  of  Gelon, 

^  Sinderith  was  the  name  of  the  Gothic  governor  of  Syracuse 
(Jord.  De  Keb.  Geticis,  Ix). 

Sicily  welcomes  the  Invaders.  9 

rich  in  all  manner  of  fruits,  above  all  rich  in  corn,  book  v. 
of  which  it  sent  large  exports  every  year  to  Eome.  "'  ' 
For  this  reason  the  Roman  inhabitants  had  prayed  ^^^' 
Theodoric  that  they  might  be  left  to  themselves, 
and  not  vexed  by  the  presence  of  large  bodies  of 
Gothic  troops.  Their  request  had  been  listened 
to ;  they  had  been  left  for  the  most  part  to  their 
own  sense  of  honour  to  defend  the  connection  which 
had  benefited  them  so  greatly  and  had  imposed 
such  light  burdens  upon  them.  And  this  was  their 
return.  Not  a  city  defended,  not  a  skirmish  fought, 
no  pretence  of  overwhelming  necessity  forthcoming; 
but  as  soon  as  the  insignificant  armament  of  Beli- 
sarius  hove  in  sight,  every  emblem  of  Gothic  do- 
mination torn  down  and  the  islanders  vying  with 
one  another  in  demonstrations  of  servility  towards 
Behsarius  and  his  master.  So  keenly  was  this 
ingratitude  felt  by  the  Goths  that,  as  we  shall  see, 
twelve  years  afterwards,  when  there  was  a  talk  of 
peace  between  them  and  the  Empire,  and  the 
Gothic  King  seemed  to  be  in  a  position  to  dictate 
its  terms,  one  of  his  indispensable  conditions  was 
that  there  should  be  no  interference  with  the  re- 
venge of  his  nation  on  ungrateful  Sicily  ^ 

Belisarius,  having  reconnoitred  Palermo,  decided  Siege  of 
that  the  fortifications  on  the  landward  side  were 
too  strong  to  be  attacked  with  any  hope  of  success. 
Of  these  fortifications  no  vestige  now  remains,  and 
indeed  the  very  site  of  the  ancient  city,  succes- 
sively Carthaginian,  Greek,  and  Roman,  is  hope- 

^  Procopius,  ii.  342  (De  Bell.  Gotth.  iii.  16). 

10  The  First  Year  of  the   War. 

BOOK  V.  lessly  obliterated  by  the  busy  prosperity  of  tlie 
"'  modern  capital  of  Sicily.  Three  features  of  the 
^^^'  landscape  only  can  we  indisputably  claim  as  iden- 
tical with  those  which  met  the  eyes  of  Belisarius. 
They  are  (i)  the  beautiful,  almost  land-locked  bay 
(reminding  the  traveller  of  the  bay  of  Naples), 
from  which  the  city  derived  its  Greek  name,  All- 
Anchorage^)  (2)  the  rich  plain  stretching  inland, 
and  now  known  as  The  Golden  Shell  (Concha 
d'Oro);  (3)  the  grand  natural  fortress  of  Monte 
Pellegrino,  2000  feet  high,  a  few  miles  out  of  the 
city,  rising,  like  the  Rock  of  Gibraltar,  square  and 
steep  out  of  the  sea  to   Lorthward   of  the   bay. 

B.C.  247  Here  Hamilcar  Barca  maintained  for  three  years 
a  sturdy  opposition  to  Rome  near  the  close  of  the 
First  Punic  War.  But  the  Gothic  garrison  of 
Sicily  resorted  to  no  such  desperate  measure  of 
defence  against  the  army  of  Belisarius.  Trusting 
in  the  strength  of  their  walls,  they  refused  to  sur- 
render the  city  and  bade  him  begone  with  all 

Palermo  The  liuc  of  Wall  skirtiug  the  harbour  was  that 
which  attracted  the  attention  of  the  Byzantine 
general.  It  was  detached  from  the  ordinary  hue 
of  circumvallation,  it  was  left  altogether  bare  of 
soldiers,  and,  high  as  it  was,  when  he  had  collected 
his  navy  in  the  harbour  he  found  that  their  masts 
overtopped  the  battlements.  With  his  usual  fer- 
tility of  resource  he  at  once  hoisted  the  ships'  boats 
filled  with  soldiers  up  to  the  yard-arms  of  the  vessels, 

^  Udv-opixos. 


Palermo  taken.  ll 

and  told  his  men  to  clamber  from  the  boats  out  book  v. 
on  to  the  parapet.     The  manoeuvre,  though  some-       "'  ^' 
what  resembling  that  tried  by  the  Venetians  at      ^^^' 
the  Latin  siege  of  Constantinople,  would  have  been  a.d.  1204. 
too  perilous  to  be  executed  in  the  face  of  an  active 
foe.      As  it  was,  practised  against  an  unguarded 
wall,  it  was  completely  successful.     Soon  the  By- 
zantine soldiers,  from  their  position  of  vantage  on 
the  high  sea-wall,  were  shooting  their  arrows  down 
into  the  ranks  of  the  enemy  in  the  city.    The  Goths 
were  cowed  by  the  unexpected  sight,  and  offered 
terms  of  capitulation  which  Belisarius  at  once  ac- 

Thus  was  all  Sicily  now  subject  to  the  Empe-  Conquest 
ror's  rule,  and  soon  found  itself  paying  heavy  tax  complete. 
and  toll  to  the  imperial  exchequer.     The  conquest 
of  Sicily,  peaceful  comparatively  as  was  its  charac- 
ter, had  occupied  about  seven  months.    On  the  last  31  Dec. 
day  of  the  year  the   Consul  Belisarius,  who  had  Belisarius 
commenced  his  year  of  ofSce  while  his  victories  [hrconru"!- 
over  the  Vandals  were  fresh  in  every  one's  mouth,  '^^^p* 
closed  it  by  a  solemn  procession  through  the  streets 
of  Syracuse,  greeted  by  the  loud  and  genuine  ap- 
plause of  his  soldiers  and  the  Sicilians,  upon  whom 
his  lavish  hands  scattered  a  welcome  largesse  of 
Justinian's  aurei. 

Meanwhile,  the  tidings  which  were  coming  from  Effect  of 
Sicily  to  Bome  \  cleverly  enlarged  upon  at  re-  quest  on 
peated  audiences  by  the  ambassador  Peter,  threw  had. 

^  It  seems   probable  that   Theodahad   through   the  greater 
part  of  535  was  at  Rome,  not  at  Ravenna. 

12  The  First  Year  of  the  War. 

BOOKV.  the  wretched  Theodahad  into  an  agony  of  terror. 

^L_L  Already  in  imagination  he  saw  himself  walking,  as 

^^^'  Gelimer  had  walked,  a  captive  before  his  conqueror 
Belisarius,  and  heard  the  well-deserved  cry,  '  Death 
to  the  murderer  of  Amalasuntha!'  thundered  forth 
Negotia-  by  the  populace  of  Byzantium.  In  a  private  con- 
peace,  ference  with  Peter  he  consented  to  make  peace  with 
Justinian  on  the  following  humiliating  conditions  : 
(i)  Sicily  was  to  be  abandoned  to  the  Emperor; 
(2)  Theodahad  was  to  send  to  Justinian  every  year 
a  golden  crown  weighing  not  less  than  300  pounds 
[at  present  values  worth  about  £12,000];  (3)  he 
was  to  furnish  3000  warlike  Goths  whenever  Jus- 
tinian should  require  their  services ;  (4)  except 
with  the  Emperor's  leave,  the  Gothic  King  was 
not  to  sentence  any  senator  or  any  priest  [Catholic 
priests,  of  course,  were  here  meant]  either  to  death  or 
confiscation  of  goods  ^;  (5)  he  was  not  to  confer  the 
dignity  of  Patrician,  or  any  office  involving  senato- 
rial rank,  upon  any  of  his  subjects  without  the  same 
gracious  permission ;  (6)  at  the  Hippodrome,  the 
Theatre,  and  all  places  of  public  resort  the  people 
were  always  to  shout  *  Vivat  Justinianus '  before 
they  shouted  'Vivat  Theodatus;'  (7)  never  was 
a  statue  of  bronze  or  any  other  material  to  be 
raised  to  Theodahad  alone,  but  wherever  he  stood 
J  Ufctinian  must  stand  beside  him  on  his  right  side. 

^  This  stipulation  seems  to  me  to  confirm  the  suggestion 
made  in  a  previous  chapter  (vol.  iii.  p.  550)  as  to  the  meaning 
of  the  charge  against  Boethius  that  he  was  '  guilty  of  desiring 
the  safety  of  the  Senate.' 

Theodahad's  offer  of  Submission,  13 

The  conditions  were  degrading  enough  and  well  book  v. 

Ch.  1. 


exemplified  the   Byzantine  habit  of  making  the 
subiection  of  an  inferior  as  s:allin2f  and  as  wound-  ,,, 

^  o  o  Character 

ins:  ^^  t'is  self-love  as  possible.     That  undefined  ^^  *J.®^. 

*"-•  ^  conditions 

relation  of  dependence  on  the  Empire  which  Odo-  imposed 

^  ,  ^  on  Theo- 

vacar  and  Theodoric  had  ignored  rather  than  con-  dahad. 
tradicted,  and  into  which  Amalasuntha  had  been 
gradually  sinking,  was  here  proclaimed  as  offen- 
sively as  possible  by  the  Augustus,  and  admitted 
as  abjectly  as  possible  by  the  Thiudans.  Though 
the  word  belongs  to  a  later  century,  Theodahad 
would  have  become  by  this  compact  virtually  the 
vassal  of  Justinian.  Still,  even  this  relationship, 
though  marking  a  great  fall  from  the  proud  '  moral 
hegemony'  of  Theodoric,  might  in  the  course  of 
centuries  have  worked  not  unfavourably  for  the 
happiness  of  Italy,  Leaning  on  the  arm  of  her 
elder  sister  of  Byzantium,  the  new  Eomano-Gothic 
state  might  have  gradually  reconciled  Teutonic 
force  with  classical  culture.  In  the  convulsions 
which  shook  the  Eastern  world  in  the  seventh  cen- 
tury, her  loyalty  might  have  been  a  stay  and  staff 
to  the  Eastern  Csesar.  Greece  and  Italy  united, 
and  occupying  their  natural  place  at  the  head  of 
European  civilisation,  might  have  formed  front 
against  the  Saracen  in  the  East,  against  the  Frank 
in  the  West.  At  the  least,  had  such  a  confederacy 
been  possible,  the  Hesperian  land  would  have  es- 
caped the  extortions  of  Byzantine  blood-suckers  on 
the  one  hand,  the  ravages  of  half-savage  Lombards 
on  the  other. 

14  The  First  Year  of  the  War. 

BOOKV.       But  it  is  useless  to  speculate  on  what  might 

_!__  have  been.      The  portentous  cowardice  of  Theo- 

mi  ^^t^.  J  dahad  rendered  him  unable  even  to  wait  for  an 

1 heodahad 

raises  the   interchaDP^e  of  embassies  with  Constantinople  to 

market  ^  ^  \ 

against      kuow  whether  his  terms  were  accepted  or  reiected. 

himself.  ,         ^  "^ 

He  had  not  yet  despatched  his  own  ambassador, 
when  he  sent  for  Peter,  who  on  his  leisurely  journey- 
had  now  reached  Albano,  the  second  station  on  the 
Appian  Way,  that  delightful  little  town  which, 
nestling  under  the  high  volcanic  cone  of  Monte 
Cavo,  looks  down  on  the  one  side  over  its  own 
peaceful  little  Alban  Lake,  and  on  the  other  over 
the  broad  Campagna  to  the  faintly-seen  towers  of 
Eome.  Peter  came,  when  summoned,  to  yet  another 
private  audience  with  the  King.  The  following 
strange  dialogue  then  passed  between  them  : — 
Dialogue  Thcodaliad.  '  Do  you  think,  Ambassador,  that 
the^ing  the  Empcror  will  be  pleased  with  the  compact 
into  which  we  have  entered '? ' 

Feter,     '  I  conjecture  that  he  will.' 
Theod.    '  But  if  he  should  chance  to  quarrel  with 
the  terms,  what  will  happen  then  ? ' 

Peter.     '  Then,  noble   sir,   the   next   thing  will 
be  that  you  will  have  to  fight.' 

Theod.    *  Is  that  fair,  dear  Ambassador '? ' 
Peter.     '  Where    is    the    unfairness,   my   good 
friend,  in  each  of  you  following  the   bent  of  his 
own  genius  1 ' 

Theod.    '  What  do  you  mean  by  that  1 ' 
Peter.     '  I  mean  this.     All  your  pleasure  is  in 
acting  the  part  of  a   philosopher;   but  Justinian 

and  the 

Dialog'ue  between   Theodahad  and  Peter,      15 


Ch.  1. 


finds  his,  in  acting  as  beseems  a  noble  Iloman  book  v. 
Emperor.  For  a  man  who  practises  the  precepts 
of  philosophy  to  devise  the  death  of  his  fellow- 
creatures,  especially  on  so  large  a  scale  as  this 
war  involves,  is  quite  unbecoming ;  and  for  a 
Platonist,  it  is  pre-eminently  necessary  to  keep 
his  hands  clean  from  human  blood.  But  for  the 
Emperor  to  vindicate  his  rights  to  a  land  which 
once  formed  part  of  his  Empire  is  in  no  way 

The  result  of  this  dialogue  (in  which  it  suited  Theodahad 

is  willing 

both  King  and  Ambassador  to  ignore  the  fact  that  to  make  a 
the  hands  of  the  former  were  already  stained  with  der  of  his 
the  blood  of  his  benefactress)  was,  that  Theodahad 
swore  to  the  Ambassador  to  sell  his  crown  to 
Justinian  if  he  should  be  required  to  do  so  ;  and 
for  some  reason  which  is  not  expressly  stated,  but 
probably  because  of  her  admitted  ascendency 
over  the  mind  of  Theodahad,  his  Queen  Gude- 
lina  was  made  a  partner  in  the  oath.  Peter  on 
his  part  was  made  to  swear  that  he  would  not 
disclose  the  last  and  highest  offer  till  he  had 
fairly  put  the  lower  offer  before  the  Emperor,  and 
found  that  it  was  hopeless  to  press  it.  What 
prudent  man  would  thus  bid  against  himself  even 
in  the  purchase  of  a  field  %  With  such  utter 
fatuity  did  these  children  of  the  barbarians  play 
their  little  bungling  game  against  the  veteran 
diplomatists  of  Constantinople. 

Peter  was  accompanied  on  the  return  embassy 
by  Eusticus,  a  Koman,  a  priest  (probably  of  the 

16  The  First  Year  of  the   War. 

BOOK  V.  orthodox  Church),  and  an  intimate  friend  of  Theo- 

'        dahad  ^      Thej  arrived  at  Constantinople  ;    they 

Eettrn  of  ®^^^^  ^^  ^^  prosenco  of  the  Emperor  ;  they  set 

Peter  to     forth  the  first  offer   of   Theodahad.     Had    Peter 

tinople,     sent    a  private  messenger  to   his    master,  or  did 

he  now,  by  ever  so  slight  and  scarcely  perceptible 

a  gesture,  imply  that,  were  he  in  Justinian's  place, 

he    would    not    accept    the    oifered    vassalage  % 

We   know  not,  but  it  is   certain  that   Justinian 

declared    that    the    terms,   abject    as   was    their 

humbleness  of   surrender,   did  not    at   all   please 

Theoda-     him.     Then  Eusticus  produced  the  Gothic  King's 

produced,   letter,   which   had   been   reserved   for   this    stage 

of  the  negotiations.     It   was  a  strange  letter  to 

be    written    by    a    member    of    the    race   whose 

forefathers  swept  like  night   over  the  shores  of 

the  ^gean,  by  a  grandson  and  great-nephew  of 

the  brave  Amal  kings  who  stood  unflinching  by 

^  Baronius,  and  most  of  the  ecclesiastical  historians  following 
him,  suppose  that  this  is  the  embassy  on  which  Pope  Agapetus 
was  sent  to  Constantinople,  and  that  either  Eusticus  is  another 
name  for  Agapetus  or  else  that  Procopius  has  blundered. 
Neither  supposition  seems  to  me  probable  or  necessary.  The 
mission  of  Agapetus  to  Constantinople  took  place  (according  to 
the  conjecturally  altered  text  of  Anastasius ;  see  Clinton, 
F.  R.  i.  763)  on  the  20th  of  February,  536  :  at  least  that  was 
the  day  on  which  he  entered  Constantinople.  Procopius  does 
not  give  us  precise  dates  for  the  return  embassy  of  Peter  and 
Eusticus,  but  according  to  the  natural  sequence  of  the  narrative 
October  or  November  of  the  previous  year  would  be  a  probable 
time  for  it.  It  is  most  unlikely  that  a  literary  official  like 
Procopius  would  make  a  mistake  as  to  the  person  of  Theodahad's 
ambassador  at  such  a  crisis.  The  mission  of  the  Pope  was 
probably  a  separate  event. 

TheodahacT s  Epistle.  17 

the   side    of    Attila   '  in    that    world-earthquake '  book  v. 
on  the  Catalaunian  plains.  ^ ^-L 


Theodahad  to  Justinian. 

*  I  am  not,  0  Emperor,  a  new  comer  into  the 
halls  of  kings.  It  was  my  fortune  to  be  born  a 
king's  nephew  and  to  be  reared  in  a  manner 
worthy  of  my  race  :  but  I  am  not  altogether  well 
versed  in  war  and  its  confusions.  From  the  first 
I  have  been  passionately  fond  of  literature  and 
have  spent  my  time  in  the  study  thereof,  and  thus 
it  has  been  till  now  my  lot  to  be  always  far  from 
the  clash  of  arms.  It  seems  therefore  unwise  of 
me  to  continue  to  lead  a  life  full  of  danger  for 
the  sake  of  the  royal  dignity,  when  neither  danger 
nor  dignity  is  a  thing  that  I  enjoy.  Not  danger, 
since  that  new  and  strange  sensation  perturbs 
my  thoughts  ;  not  the  royal  dignity,  since  pos- 
session of  it  has,  according  to  the  general  law, 
brought  satiety. 

'  Therefore,  if  some  landed  property  could  be 
secured  to  me,  bringing  in  a  yearly  income  of 
not  less  than  twelve  cwt.  of  gold  [£48,000],  T 
should  consider  that  more  valuable  to  me  than 
my  kingship :  and  I  am  willing  on  those  terms  to 
hand  over  to  thee  the  sovereignty  of  the  Goths 
and  Italians.  I  think  that  I  shall  thus  be  happier 
as  a  peaceful  tiller  of  the  soil  than  as  a  king 
immersed  in  kingly  cares,  no  sooner  out  of  one 
danger  than  into  another.  Send  me  then  as 
speedily  as  possible  a   commissioner  to  whom  I 

VOL.  IV.  C 

18  The  First  Year  of  the  War, 

BOOKV.  may    hand    over  Italy   and  all   that   pertains  to 
__^1^  my  kingship.' 

The  letter  gave  supreme  delight  to   the  Em- 
peror, and  obtained  the  following  reply. 

Justinian  to  Theodahad. 
Justinian's  *  I  heard  long  ago  by  common  fame  that  you 
were  a  man  of  high  intelligence,  and  now  I  find 
by  experience  that  this  is  true.  You  show  your 
wisdom  in  declining  to  await  the  arbitrament  of 
war,  which  has  plunged  some  men  who  staked 
their  all  upon  it  into  terrible  disasters.  You 
will  never  have  occasion  to  repent  having  turned 
us  from  an  enemy  into  a  friend.  You  shall 
receive  all  the  property  that  you  ask  for,  and, 
in  addition,  your  name  shall  be  inscribed  in  the 
highest  rank  of  Eoman  nobih'ty.  I  now  send 
Athanasius  and  Peter  to  exchange  the  needful 
ratifications,  and  in  a  very  short  time  Belisarius 
will  come  to  complete  the  transaction  thus  settled 
between  us.' 

Ambassa-       Athauasius  was  the  brother  of  Alexander  who 

dors  sent 

to  com-      was  sent  the  year  before  as  ambassador  to  Athal- 
tran?ac-     aric.     Tlic  dutics  entrusted  to  him  and  to  Peter 
were  mainly  to  settle  the  boundaries  of  the  new 
Fatrimonium  which  was  to  be  assigned  to  Theoda- 
had, to  put  the  compact  in  writing,  and  to  secure 
Belisarius  it  by  oatbs  givcu  and  taken.     Belisarius  was  sent 

summoned    n        .  -,-,  n     p  o*    m  •  i 

from  Sicily  tor  lu  ail  spoed  from  Sicily  to  receive  charge  oi 
the  fortresses,  arsenals,  and  all  the  machinery 
of  government  from  the  royal  trafficker.     These 

The  War  in  Dalmatia,  19 

arrangements  were  probably  made  towards  the  end  book  v. 
of  the  year  535. _L 

When  the  ambassadors   arrived  at  the  Gothic  „,  ^^^'  . 

The  war  m 

Court  they  found  the  mood  of  Theodahad  strangely  dalmatia. 
altered.  To  understand  the  reason  of  the  change 
we  must  look  again  at  the  affairs  of  Dalmatia. 
We  left  Mundus  the  Gepid  there,  holding  the 
retaken  capital,  Salona,  for  Justinian.  A  large 
Gothic  army  under  the  command  of  Asinarius 
and  Grippas  entered  the  province,  apparently 
about  the  middle  of  autumn,  and  approached 
Salona.  Maurice  the  son  of  Mundus,  on  a  re- 
connoitring expedition,  approached  too  near  the 
main  body  of  the  Gothic  army  and  was  slain. 
Maddened  with  grief,  the  old  barbarian,  his  father, 
fell  upon  the  Gothic  host.  Though  he  attacked 
in  too  loose  order  he  was  at  first  successful,  and 
broke  the  ranks  of  the  foe,  but  pressing  on  too 
hotly  in  pursuit,  he  was  pierced  by  the  spear 
of  one  of  the  fu2:itives  and  fell  dead.      His  fall  i^eath  of 

°  ^  Mundus. 

stopped  the  onward  movement  of  his  troops.  Both 
armies  dispersed,  and  neither  dared  to  appropriate 
the  prize  of  war,  the  city  of  Salona ;  the  Romans 
having  got  altogether  out  of  hand  since  the  death 
of  their  general,  and  the  Goths  misdoubting  both 
the  strength  of  the  walls  and  the  loyalty  of  the 

It  was  some  slight  consolation  to  the  Romans  Sibyiiine 

1  1       T        p   .  11  prophecy. 

that  these  reverses  robbed  of  its  terrors  an  old 
Sibylline  prophecy  which  had  been  much  of  late 
in  the  mouths  of  men.    This  prophecy,  couched  in 

c  2 

20  The  First  Year  of  the   War, 

BOOK  V.  mysterious  characters,  which  are  a  marvel  upon  the 

^^'  ^'     page  of  Procopius  ^  had  been  thus  interpreted  : — 

^^^*  '  First  Rome  reconqaers  Afric.     Then  the  World 

Is  with  its  progeny  to  ruin  hurled.' 

Belisarius'  capture  of  Carthage  had  seemed  to 
bring  the  end  of  the  world  alarmingly  near.  But 
now  the  battle  of  Salona  reassured  men's  minds. 
It  was  not  the  world  and  all  its  inhabitants,  but 
only  Mvndus  and  his  too  daring  son,  with  whose 
fate  the  oracle  was  full, 
Salona  re-       Xhc  fortuuc  of  the  Bomau  arms  in  Dalmatia  was 


]>ythe       soon  retrieved.     Constantian,  who  held  the  office 


troops,  of  Comes  Stahuli^  in  the  imperial  household,  was 
sent  with  a  well-equipped  army  to  recover  Salona, 
which  had  been  entered  by  the  Goths.  Having 
apparently  the  entire  command  of  the  sea,  he  sailed 
northwards  from  Epidamhus  (Durazzo),  and  was 
soon  to  be  seen  in  the  offing  from  the  coast  of 
Epidaurus  (a  little  south  of  the  modern  Cattaro). 
The  panic-stricken  Gothic  general  Grippas,  who  was 
informed  by  his  scouts  that '  myriads  of  Romans  were 
approaching  by  sea,'  evacuated  Salona  and  pitched 
his  camp  a  little  to  the  west  of  that  city.  Con- 
stantian  sailed  some  hundred  miles  or  so  up  the 
gulf  and  anchored  at  the  island  of  Lissa,  memorable 

^  In  the  hope  of  attracting  philologists  to  make  another 
attempt  at  the  decipherment  of  these  characters  (which  have  no 
doubt  suffered  much  from  transcription),  I  here  reprint  them : — 


^  The  Gomes  Stabuli  is  not  mentioned  in  the  Notitia,  but  is 
in  the  Tlieodosian  Code  (Lib.  xi.  Tit.  17.  1,  3).  The  Connetable 
of  mediaeval  France  derives  his  name  from  this  officer. 

The  War  in  Dalmatia.  21 

to  this  generation  for  the  naval  battle  fought  there  book  v. 
between  the  Italians  and  Austrians  in  1866.    Find-        ' 
ing  from  his  scouts  that  Salona  was  deserted  he      ^^^' 
landed  his  troops,  occupied  it  in  force,  repaired  its 
ruinous  walls,  and  posted  500  men  to  occupy  the 
narrow  pass  by  which  it  was  approached  from  the 
west.    After  seven  days  of  tarriance,  the  two  Gothic 
generals,  with  that  feebleness  and  absence  of  re- 
source which  mark  the  barbarian  strategy  in  the 
earlier  stages  of  this  war,  simply  marched  back 
again  to  Eavenna. 

Dalmatia  and  Liburnia  (or  the  province  of  II  h^-  Dalmatia 
ricum  ^),  which  had  for  the  most  joart  followed  the  from  the 
fortunes  of  Italy  for  a  century  and  a  half  since  the  state. 
death  of  Theodosius,  w^ere  thus  permanently  re- 
covered bv  the  State,  which  we  must  in  this  con- 
nection  call  the  Eastern  Empire,  although  it  was, 
to   a  loyal   Roman,  simply  the  Empire,  one  and 
undivided.     From  this  time  forward  the  eastern 
coast  of  the  Hadriatic,  though  subject  to  Avar  in- 
vasions, Sclavonic  migrations,  Bosnian  kingships, 
maintained  a  more  or  less  intimate  political  con- 
nection with  Constantinoj^le,  till  the  conquests  of 
the  Venetians  in  the  tenth  century  brought  it  back 
once  more  into  the  world  of  Italian  domination. 

But  these  were  the  far-reaching  results  of  the  Effect  of 
expedition  of  Mundus.     We  have  to  do  with  the  succes^ses"" 
more  immediate  effects  of  the  early  disasters  of  the  tia  on  The- 
imperial    forces    on  that  feeble  and    futile    thing,  °  ^  ^^  * 
the  mind  of  King  Theodahad.    That  royal  student, 
^  See  vol.  i.  p.  276. 

22  The  First  Year  of  the  War. 

BOOKV.  if  versed   in  the   *  Republic'  of   Plato,    had   not 

Ch.  1. 


laid  equally  to  heart  the  more  popular  philo- 
sophy of  Horace.  At  least  he  conspicuously  dis- 
obeyed the  precepts  of  that  familiar  ode  in  which 
'  the  mortal  Dellius '  is  exhorted  to  preserve  a 
temper  'serene  in  arduous  and  reasonable  in  pros- 
perous' circumstances.  As  pusillanimous  as  he 
had  shown  himself  at  the  news  of  the  successes  of 
Belisarius,  so  intolerably  arrogant  did  he  become 
when  the  tidings  reached  him  of  the  death  of 
Mundus  and  his  son.  When  the  ambassadors  who 
arrived  about  the  same  time  as  the  news  (probably 
somewhere  about  December  535)  ventured  to  claim 
the  fulfilment  of  his  solemn  promise  to  surrender 
His  dispute  the  kingdom,  he  flatly  refused.  Peter  spoke  some- 
imperial  what  plainly  as  to  the  royal  faithlessness.  Theo- 
dors.  dahad  petulantly  answered,  '  The  privilege  of 
ambassadors  is  a  holy  thing,  but  it  is  conceded  on 
the  supposition  that  it  be  not  abused.  It  is  admitted 
that  the  person  of  an  ambassador  who  seduces  the 
wife  of  a  citizen  of  the  country  to  which  he  is 
accredited  is  not  sacrosanct ;  and  I  shall  not  scruple 
to  apply  the  same  principle  to  an  ambassador  who 
insults  the  King.'  Peter  and  Athanasius  made  a 
spirited  reply :  '  0  ruler  of  the  Goths,  you  are 
seeking  by  flimsy  pretexts  to  cover  unholy  deeds. 
An  ambassador  may  be  watched  as  strictly  as  his 
entertainer  pleases,  and  therefore  the  talk  about 
injury  to  female  honour  is  altogether  beside  the 
mark.  But  as  for  what  the  ambassador  sa^s,  be  it 
good  or  bad,  the  praise  or  blame  for  it  rests  solely 

The  Privilege  of  Ambassadors.  23 

on  him  who  sent  him.     The  ambassador  is  a  mere  book  v. 
mouthpiece,  and  to  him  attaches  no  responsibility       "'  ' 
for  his  words.     We  shall  therefore  say  all  that  we     ^^^' 
heard  from  the  lips  of  the  Emperor  :  and  do  you 
listen  patiently,   for   if  you  become   excited  you 
will  perhaps  commit  some  outrage  on  our  sacred 
character.     We  declare  then  that  the  time  is  come 
for  you   loyally  to    fulfil  your  compact  with  the 
Emperor.     Here  is  the  letter  which  he  wrote  to  you. 
The  notes  which  he  has  addressed  to  the  chief  men 
among  the  Goths  we  shall  hand  to   no   one  but 
themselves  only,' 

However,  the  Gothic  nobles  who  were  present  Letters  to 
authorised  the  ambassadors  to  hand  over  their  nobles. 
letters  to  Theodahad.  These  despatches  congra- 
tulated the  Goths  on  the  near  prospect  of  their  ab- 
sorption in  the  great  polity  of  Rome,  a  state  with 
whose  laws  and  customs  they  had  long  ago  become 
acquainted  [in  their  capacity  of  Foederati] ;  and 
Justinian  promised  that  they  should  find  their 
dignity  and  credit  increased,  not  diminished,  by 
the  change. 

This  was   not,    however,   the  view  which    the  The  nobles 
Gothic  nobles  took  of  the  situation.     Whatever  Theodahad 
their  secret   contempt  for   the   weakly  truculent  s?stance! 
character  of  their  King,  they  were  ready  to  second 
him  heartily  in  his  present  mood  of  defiance  to  the 
Empire.     Both  sides  therefore  prepared  for  tlat 
which  was  now  to  be  really  'a  truceless  war\' 

^  Apparently    however  Theodahad,  perhaps  on    hearing   of 
Constantian's  successes  in  Dalmatia,  made  one  more  effort  at 

24  The  First  Year  of  the   War, 

BOOKV.  In  these  preparations  the  winter  of  535-536  wore 

c.^.  1. 

away,  and  the  second  year  of  the  great  Gothic  War 

peace  by  sending  Pope  Agapetus  to  Constantinople :  but  the 
story  of  that  mission  will  be  best  told  a  little  later  on,  when 
we  resume  the  thread  of  the  Papal  history. 

CHAPTEH   11. 



Sources : — 

Piiocopius,  De  Bello  Vandalico,  ii.  10-17  (vol.  i.  pp.  447-  BOOK  V. 
490,  ed.  Bonn),  and  De  Bello  Gotthico,  i.  8-10  (vol.  ii.      ^^-  ^ 

PP-  ?>^-S7)' 

For  some  African  events  Flavius  Cresconius  Corippus^ 
an  African  man  of  letters,  who  wrote  a  panegyric  of  the 
Emperor  Justin  II  (0^5-578),  and  a  poem  called  '  Johannis ' 
in  praise  of  the  victorious  campaign  of  John,  governor 
of  Africa,  against  the  Moors  (550).  This  latter  poem, 
which  was  discovered  by  Mazuchelli  in  1814,  and  first 
published  in  1820,  is  included  in  the  Bonn  edition  of  the 
Byzantine  historians.  The  style  is  good  for  so  late  an 
age  of  Latin  literature. 

Guides : — 

In  studjnng  the  topography  of  Neapolis  I  have  received 
some  assistance  from  Summontes  '  Storia  di  Napoli,'  but 
my  chief  guides  are  Beloch  and  Capasso. 

Julius  Beloch^  a  German  student  of  Italian  antiquities, 
is  the  author  of  a  valuable  monograph  ('  Campanien,' 
Berlin,  1879)  on  the  cities  of  Campania.  Its  usefulness 
is  greatly  increased  by  the  beautifully  executed  Atlas  with 
which  it  is  accompanied. 

The  Commendatore  Bartolommeo  Caj^asso^  one  of  the  first 
archaeologists  of  Naples,  has  written  a  tract  '  SuU '  antico 
sito  di  Napoli  e  Palepoli,'  which  is  a  perfect  quarry  of 
information   as  to  the   Greek  and  Roman  cities.     A  few 

26      Belisarius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples. 

EOOKV   details  as  to  the  course  of  the  Neapolitan  aqueducts  were 
Ch.  2.     furnished  to  me  by  S.  Capasso  personally  in  1882,  when  I 
536.       had  the  privilege  of  making*  his  acquaintance  in  Naples. 

Beiisarius       When  the  news  of  the   double-dyed  treachery 

ordered  '^  "^ 

to  invade    of  Theodahad  reached  the  Court  of  Constantinople 

Italy  at  .        .  ^ 

once.  orders  were  despatched  to  Beiisarius  to  proceed 
with  all  speed  to  Italy  and  push  the  war  against 
the  Goths  to  the  uttermost.  He  was,  however, 
hindered  for  some  weeks  from  obeying  these  orders, 
by  a  sudden  call  to  another  post  of  danger ;  a  call 
which  well  illustrates  the  precarious  and.  un- 
enduring  character  of  Justinian's  conquests  and 
the  inherent  vices  of  Byzantine  domination. 
He  is  pre-  j^,  was  a  fcw  days  after  Easter,  in  the  year  536, 
bad  news  probably  therefore  about  the  30th  or  31st  of 
thage.  March  \  when  a  single  ship  rounded  the  headland 
of  Plemmyrium,  passed  the  fountain  of  Arethusa, 
and  reached  the  landing-place  of  Syracuse.  A  few 
fugitives  leaped  on  land  and  hastened  to  the 
presence  of  Beiisarius.  Chief  among  them  was 
the  Eunuch  Solomon,  in  whose  keeping,  two  years 
before,  he  had  left  the  fortress  and  city  of  Carthage 
guarded  by  a  triumphant  Eoman  army.  What 
causes  had  brought  a  man  placed  in  such  height 
of  power,  and  a  brave  and  prudent  soldier,  into 
so  great  disaster  \ 
Keiations        Not  his  wars  with  the  declared  enemies  of  the 

between        1-1          •  i  i       •        •  i  m 

the  impe-    iimpire,  though  it  IS  worth  our  while   to   notice 
vernor  of    evcu  here  how  Justinian's  conquests  really  paved 

*  Easter  Sunday  fell  on  the  23rd  of  March  in  the  year  536 
(L'Art  de  verifier  les  Dates,  p.  11). 

Revohttion  at  Carthage,  27 

the  way   for  the  barbarians.     The   Vandals   had  book  v. 

Ch   2 

reared  a  kingdom  in  North  Africa,  semi-civilised  U_ 

it  is  true,  but  which,  if  left  to  itself,  would  have  ^t^Moorf 
become  wholly  civilised,  and  which  meanwhile 
was  strong  enough  to  keep  the  wild  sons  of  the 
desert  in  check.  Now,  the  Vandals  overthrown, 
the  Moors  came  on^  They  pushed  their  forays 
far  into  the  African  province  ;  in  hosts  of  30,000 
and  50,000  at  a  time  they  invaded  Numidia  and 
Byzacene ;  they  loudly  complained  that  the  pro- 
mises by  which  they  had  been  lured  into  the 
Eoman  alliance  had  been  left  unfulfilled ;  and 
when  Solomon  ventured  to  remind  the  chiefs  that 
he  held  their  children  as  hostages  for  their  good 
behaviour  they  replied,  '  You  monogamist  Romans 
may  fret  about  the  loss  of  your  children.  We  who 
may  have  fifty  wives  apiece  if  it  so  pleases  us, 
feel  no  fear  that  we  shall  ever  have  a  deficiency 
of  sons.' 

In  two  battles  the   Eunuch- Governor  had  de-      535- 
feated   his   Moorish   antagonists^.     But    still   the 

^  It  is  in  a  digression  as  to  the  Moors,  inserted  at  this  point 
of  his  history,  that  Procopius  introduces  the  often-quoted  but 
improbable  story  of  the  two  pillars  erected  by  Canaanitish 
exiles  near  Tigisis  in  Numidia,  with  this  inscription  in  Phoeni- 
cian characters  :  '  We  are  they  who  fled  from  the  face  of  Joshua 
the  robber  the  son  of  Nun,' 

^  These  were  the  battles  of  Mammas  and  Burgaon.  The 
sites  of  these  places  do  not  appear  to  be  identified.  Mammas 
was  the  only  engagement  that  deserved  to  be  called  a  pitched 
battle,  and  here  the  chief  difficulty  arose  from  the  confusion 
caused  in  the  Koman  cavalry  by  the  sight  and  smell  of  the 
camels.    At  Burgaon  the  Moors  were  encamped  on  a  precipitous 


2S      Bells arius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 

BOOKv.  Moorish  chief  labdas  remained  encamped  on  the 

^^•^'     high  and  fruitful  table-kind  of  Mount  Auras,  thirteen 

^^^*      days'  journey  from  Carthage,  and  from  thence  at 

every  favourable  opportunity  swept  down  into  the 

plain,  pillaging,  slaying,  leading  into  captivity;  nor 

had  Solomon,  though  he  led  one  expedition  against 

him,  yet  been  able  to  dislodge  him  thence. 

Mutiny  of       Thus  had  events  passed  till  the  Easter  of  536, 

tlie  Roman 

soldiers,  and  then  the  real,  the  tremendous  danger  of  the 
Eunuch's  position  was  suddenly  revealed  to  him, 
in  the  shape  of  an  almost  universal  mutiny  of 
the  Koman  soldiers.  We  call  them  Koman  in 
accordance  with  the  usage  of  the  times,  because 
they  served  that  peculiar  political  organisation  at 
Constantinople  which  still  called  itself  the  Roman 
Republic  \  and  because  the  banners  under  which 
they  marched  to  battle  still  bore  the  world-known 
letters  S.  P.  Q.  R.  But,  as  has  been  already  hinted, 
probably  not  one  soldier  out  of  a  hundred  in  the 
imperial  army  could  speak  Latin,  and  many  of 
them  may  have  hardly  known  sufficient  Greek  to 
find  their  way  about  the  streets  of  Constantinople. 
They  were  Heruli  from  the  Danube,  Isaurians 
from  the  Asiatic  highlands,  Huns  from  the  steppes 

hill.  By  a  daring  night-march — not  unlike  that  by  which 
Wolfe  scaled  the  Heights  of  Abraham — Solomon  posted  some 
troops  on  the  summit  of  the  hill.  The  Moors,  panic-stricken  at 
finding  themselves  between  two  attacks,  rushed  down  the  hill, 
and  (according  to  Procopius)  50,000  of  them  perished  in  a 
precipitous  ravine,  without  one  Roman  soldier  being  slain. 

^  I  think  the  frequent  references  of  Procopius  in  the  account 
of  this  very  mutiny  to  17  noXiTeia,  illustrated  by  the  usage  of 
his  contemporary  Cassiodorus,  justify  this  statement. 

The  African  Land-question.  29 

of  Scythia,  Armenians  from  under  the  shadow  of  book  v. 

.  .  .  Ch.  2. 

Ararat,  anything  and  everything  but  true  scions  

of  the  old  Oscan  and  Hellenic  stocks  whose  deeds 
are  commemorated  by  Livy  and  Thucydides. 

These  men,  Teutons  many  of  them   by   birth,  Their  dis- 

.  .  appointed 

and  Arians  by  religious  profession,  having   beenhopes. 
permitted   to   marry   the   Vandal   widows    whose 
husbands   they  had  slain,    had   expected   to  set- 
tle in  comfort  upon  the  Vandal    lands,  and    live  The  land 


thenceforward  in  peace,  under  some  loose  bond  of 
allegiance  to  the  Emperor,  as  the  new  lords  of 
Africa.  Not  such,  however,  was  the  intention  of 
the  bureaucracy  of  Constantinople.  The  usual 
swarm  of  Logothetae,  of  Agentes  in  rebus,  of  Scri- 
niarii,  settled  down  upon  the  province,  intent 
upon  sucking  the  last  available  aureus  out  of 
it  for  the  public  treasury.  The  lands  of  the 
conquered  Vandals  were  all  deemed  to  have  re- 
verted to  the  state,  and  if  the  husband  of  a  Vandal 
widow,  whether  he  were  soldier  or  civilian,  cul- 
tivated them,  it  must  be  under  the  burden  of  a 
land-tax  revised  every  fifteen  years,  so  strictly  as 
to  make  him  virtually  tenant  at  a  rack-rent  under 
the  tax-gatherer.  In  many  cases,  not  even  on 
these  unfavourable  terms  was  the  occupancy  of 
the  land  assigned  to  the  soldiers.  Here,  then, 
were  plentiful  materials  for  a  quarrel.  On  the 
one  hand,  a  number  of  hot-blooded,  stalwart  men, 
flushed  with  the  pride  of  conquest,  each  one  with 
a  remembrancer  of  his  wrongs  for  ever  at  his  ear, 
reminding  him,  '  Such  an   estate  or  such  a  villa 

30      Belisarius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 
BOOK  V.  belonged  to  me  when  I  was  the  wife  of  a  Vandal 

Ch.  2. 

warrior,  yet  thou  who  hast  conquered  Vandals  art 
thyself  landless.'  On  the  other  side,  the  Eunuch- 
Governor  and  the  official  hierarchy,  pleading  the 
law  of  the  State,  the  custom  of  the  Empire.  *  It 
'  was  reasonable  that  the  slaves,  the  ornaments, 
the  portable  property,  should  be  the  spoil  of  the 
soldiers.  But  the  land,  which  once  belonged  to 
the  Eoman  Empire,  must  revert  to  the  Emperor 
and  the  Commonwealth  of  Rome,  who  called  you 
forth  as  soldiers,  trained  you,  armed  you,  paid  you, 
not  in  order  that  you  should  conquer  these  lands 
for  yourselves,  but  that  they  might  become  public 
property  and  furnish  rations  not  for  you  only,  but 
for  all  the  soldiers  of  the  Empire.' 
Eeiigious  Tlius  was  the  African  land-question  raised.  But 
there  was  also  a  religious  'difficulty.  Many  of  the 
soldiers  in  the  late  army  of  Belisarius,  especially  the 
martial  Heruli,  were  Arians.  The  Vandal  priests 
who  still  remained  in  Africa  found  access  to  these 
men,  and  inflamed  their  minds  with  a  recital  of 
the  religious  disabilities  to  which  they,  the  con- 
querors as  much  as  the  conquered,  were  subject. 
The  prohibition  of  Justinian  was  positive.  No 
baptism  nor  any  other  religious  rite  was  to  be 
performed  by  or  upon  any  man  not  holding  the 
full,  orthodox,  Athanasian  faith.  The  time  of 
Easter  was  drawing  nigh,  at  which  it  was  usual  to 
baptize  all  the  children  who  had  been  born  in  the 
preceding  year.  No  child  of  a  Herulian  would  be 
admitted  to  the  holy  font,  no  Herulian   himself 

Rehirn  of  Vandals  to  Africa.  31 

would  be  permitted  to  share  in  the  solemnities  of  book  v. 
Easter,  unless  he  first  renounced  the  creed  of  his  — '_ 1_ 
forefathers,    the   creed  which  had    perhaps   been 
brought   to   his  rude  dwelling   on    the  Danubian 
shore  by  some  Arian  bishop,  disciple  or  successor 
of  the  sainted  Ulfilas. 

As  the  evil  genius  of  the  Empire  would  have  it,  ^^^.^^"  ''^ 
there  was  yet  a  third  element  of  disaffection  cast  ^i^eci  Va,n- 

•^     .  dais. 

into  the  African  cauldron.  The  Vandals  whom 
Belisarius  carried  captive  to  Byzantium  had  been 
enrolled  in  five  regiments  of  cavalry,  had  received 
the  honourable  name  of  ^  Justinian's  Yandals,'  and 
had  been  ordered  to  garrison  the  cities  of  Syria 
against  the  Persians.  The  greater  part  proceeded 
to  their  appointed  stations  and  faithfully  served  the 
Empire  which  had  robbed  them  of  their  country. 
But  four  hundred  of  them,  finding  themselves  at 
Lesbos  with  a  favouring  wind,  hoisted  their  sails, 
forced  the  mariners  to  obey  their  orders,  and  started 
for  Peloponnesus  first  and  then  for  Africa.  Arrived 
at  the  well-remembered  shore,  they  ran  their  ships 
aground,  landed,  and  marched  off  for  the  uncaptured 
stronghold  of  Mount  Aurasius.  Here  they  re- 
ceived a  message  from  the  soldiers  at  Carthage 
who  contemplated  mutiny,  soliciting  their  assist- 
ance, which,  after  solemn  oaths  and  promises  given 
and  received,  they  agreed  to  furnish  to  the  muti- 
neers. So,  when  Easter  drew  on,  all  was  ripe  for 

The  mutineers  agreed  anions:  themselves  that  Solomon  to 

^       ,        ,  ^  .   .  be  slam, 

Solomon  should  be  slain  in  the  a'reat  Basilica  of  21  March. 

32      Belisariiis  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 
BOOKv.  Carthage   on  Good  Friday,   and   that  this  crime 

Ch.  2. 

should  be  the  signal  for  the  insurrection  to  break 
^^^'  out.  They  took  little  care  about  secresy:  the 
guards,  the  shield-bearers,  many  even  of  the  house- 
hold servants  of  the  Eunuch,  were  in  the  plot,  but 
none  betrayed  it,  so  great  was  the  longing  of  all 
for  the  Vandal  lands.  So,  unsuspecting  evil,  sat 
Solomon  in  the  great  Basilica,  while  the  ceremonies 
went  forward  which  commemorated  the  death  of 
Christ,  and  which  were  meant  to  be  signalised  by 
his  own.  '  The  conspirators  gathered  round  him. 
Each  man,  with  frowns  and  gestures  of  impatience, 
motioned  to  his  neighbour  to  do  the  deed  of  blood, 
but  none  could  bring  himself  with  his  own  arm 
The  plot     to  strike  the  blow.     Either  the   sanctity  of  the 

fails.  ^  '^ 

place,  or  old  loyalty  to  their  general,  or  else  the 
still  unstifled  voice  of  conscience,  prevented  any 
from  volunteering  for  the  service  ;  and  they  had 
not  taken  the  precaution  of  selecting  the  arch- 
murderer  before  they  entered  the  sacred  building. 
When  the  words  ' Ite,  jam  missa  est'  came  from 
the  lips  of  the  officiating  prelate,  they  hastened 
from  the  Basilica,  each  cursing  the  other  for  his 
cowardice  and  softness  of  heart.  But  *  To-morrow,' 
said  they,  'in  the  same  place  the  deed  shall  be 
2  2  March,  done.'  On  the  morrow  Solomon  again  sat  in  the 
great  Basilica ;  again  his  would-be  murderers 
assembled  round  him,  again  the  same  invisible 
influence  stayed  their  hands.  When  the  service 
was  over  they  foamed  out  into  the  Forum,  a  dis- 
appointed and  angry  crowd.   The  epithets  '  Traitor,' 

Failure  of  the  Assassination  Plot,  33 

'  Coward/  '  Faint-heart '  were  freely  bandied  about  book  v. 
among  them,  so  freely  that,  feeling  sure  that  their  __^ll_ 
design  must  now  be  generally  known,  the  chiefs      ^^^' 
of  the  plot  left  the  city  and  began  freebooting  in 
the  country  districts. 

When  Solomon  discovered  the  dano^er  with  which  The  mutiny 

^  ^  spreads. 

he  had  to  deal,  he  went  round  to  the  soldiers'  quar- 
ters and  exhorted  those  who  were  still  remaining 
in  the  city  to  abide  faithful  to  the  Emperor.  For  five 
days  the  mutiny  seemed  to  have  been  checked,  but 
at  the  end  of  that  time,  when  the  soldiers  within 
the  city  saw  that  their  revolted  comrades  were 
pursuing  their  career  of  ravage  outside  unchecked, 
it  burst  out  with  fresh  fury.  The  soldiers  col- 
lected in  the  Hippodrome,  and  shouted  out  the 
names  of  Solomon  and  the  other  chief  authorities 
in  the  state,  loading  them  with  every  kind  of  coarse 
abuse.  Theodore  the  Cappadocian,  apparently  the  Theodore 
most  popular  of  Solomon's  officers,  was  sent  by  him  dodan 
to  harangue  them  in  soothing  terms.  Not  a  word  fjader!™^ 
of  his  soft  eloquence  was  listened  to ;  but  believing 
him  to  be  secretly  opposed  to  Solomon  and  his 
policy,  the  mutineers  with  loud  shouts  acclaimed 
him  as  their  leader.  Theodore  appears  to  have 
been  a  man  of  staunch  loyalty,  but  he  humoured 
the  whim  of  the  rebels  for  a  few  hours,  in  order  to 
favour  Solomon's  escape.  With  loud  and  tumult- 
uous shouts  the  mutineers,  self-constituted  guards 
of  Theodore,  escorted  him  to  the  palace  of  the  Pre- 
fect. There  they  found  another  Theodore,  captain 
of  the  guards,  a  man  of  noble  character  and  a 

VOL.  IV.  D 

34      Belisarius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 

BOOKV.  skilled  soldier,  but  for  tlie  moment  unpopular  with 
^^•^'  these  rebels.  Him  they  slew,  and  having  thus 
^^^'  tasted  blood,  they  dispersed  themselves  through  the 
city,  killing  every  man  whom  they  met,  Eoman  or 
Provincial,  who  was  suspected  of  being  a  friend  of 
Solomon,  or  who  had  money  enough  about  him  to 
make  murder  profitable.  They  entered  all  the 
houses  which  were  not  guarded  by  the  few  still 
loyal  soldiers,  and  carried  off  all  the  portable  plun- 
der that  they  found  there.  At  length  night  came 
on,  and  the  mutineers,  stretched  in  drunken  sleep 
in  the  streets  and  forums  of  the  city,  rested  from 

Flight  of    their  orgie  of  rapine.     Then  Solomon  and  his  next 

Solomon.  .  « 

in  command,  Martin,  who  had  been  cowering  for 
refuge  all  day  in  the  chapel  of  the  Governors 
palace,  stole  forth  to  the  house  of  Theodore  the 
Cappadocian.  He  pressed  them  to  take  food, 
though  sadness  and  fear  had  well-nigh  deprived 
them  of  appetite,  and  then  had  them  conveyed  to 
the  harbour.  A  little  company  of  eight  persons 
embarked  in  a  boat  belonging  to  one  of  the  ships 
under  Martin's  command.  These  eight  persons 
were  Solomon,  Martin,  five  officers  of  the  Eunuch  s 
household,  and — most  important  of  all  in  our 
eyes — the  Councillor  Procopius,  to  whom  we  owe 
the  whole  of  this  narrative.  After  rowing  in  an 
open  boat  for  nearly  forty  miles,  the  fugitive 
Governor  and  his  suite  reached  Missua,  on  the 
opposite  (eastward)  shore  of  the  bay  of  Tunis,  a 
place  which  was  apparently  used  as  a  kind  of  sup- 
plemental port,  owing  to  the  original  harbour  of 

Flight  of  Solomon,  35 

Carthage  having  become  too  small  for  its  trade  ^ .  book  v. 
At  Missua  they  felt  themselves  in  comparative  ^  '  \ 
safety,  and  from  hence  the  Eunuch  despatched  ^^  ' 
Martin  to  Valerian  and  the  other  generals  com- 
manding in  Numidia,  on  the  west  of  the  Carthagi- 
nian province,  to  warn  them  of  the  mutiny,  and  to 
endeavour,  under  the  shelter  of  their  forces,  to  win 
back  by  gold  or  favour  as  many  as  possible  of  the 
mutineers  to  their  old  loyalty.  He  also  wrote  to 
Theodore,  giving  him  a  general  commission  to  act  for 
the  imperial  interests  in  Carthage  as  might  seem 
best  at  the  time,  and  then  Solomon  himself,  prob- 
ably taking  some  ship  of  war  out  of  the  roadstead 
at  Missua,  set  sail  for  Syracuse  with  Procopius  in 
his  train,  and,  as  we  have  seen,  arrived  there  in 
safety  to  claim  the  assistance  of  Belisarius. 

Meanwhile  the  insurgfents,  who  had  by  this  time  stutza 

^  .         '^  made 

found  that  Theodore  the  Cappadocian  would  not  leader  of 

ii«  If*  ^      '  T    '  1       '  111*^®  rebels. 

lend  himseli  to  their  seditious  designs,  assembled 
on  the  plains  of  Bulla ^,  a  short  distance  to  the 
south  of  Carthage,  and  there  chose  out  Stutza^,  one 

^  See  the  very  carefully  written  article  on  Carthage  in 
Smith's  Diet,  of  Greek  and  Roman  Geography,  i.  551a.  The 
words  of  Procopius  are  :  ^radiovs  re  TpiaKoariovs  avvcravTes  d(j}iKovTO 
€S  Mio-arovav  ro  Kapxrjdovioiv  enivetov  (vol.  i.  p.  474)' 

^  Probably  the  Bulla  Mensa  of  Ptolemy,  not  Bulla  Regia  in 
Numidia,  which  is  four  days'  journey  from  Carthage.  (See 
Smith's  Diet,  of  Geography,  s.  v.  Bulla.) 

^  The  Byzantine  form  of  the  name,  found  in  Procopius  and 
Marcellinus,  is  Stotzas.  But  the  African-born  writers,  Corippus 
and  Victor  of  Tunnuna,  call  him  Stuzas  and  Stutias  respectively 
(the  latter  change  perhaps  for  metrical  reasons).  The  editor 
of  Corippus  suggests  the  German  '  Stutzer '  (strutter)  as  a  deri- 
vation (p.  245,  ed.  Bonn). 

D  2 

36      Belisarius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 
BOOK  V.  of  the  body-guard  of  Martin,  and  acclaimed  him  as 

Oh.  2. 

their  king^  Stutza,  if  not  endowed  with  any  great 
^^  '  strategic  talents,  was  a  man  of  robustness  and  har- 
dihood. He  found  under  his  standards  no  fewer 
than  8000  revolted  soldiers.  These  were  soon 
joined  by  1000  Vandals,  partly  the  recent  fugitives 
from  Constantinople,  partly  those  who  had  escaped 
the  notice  of  the  conquering  host  two  years  before. 
They  were  further  joined  by  that  usual  result  of 
anarchy  in  the  Koman  state,  a  large  number  of 
slaves.  The  united  host  aimed  at  nothing  less 
than  driving  out  the  imperial  generals  and  making 
themselves  lords  of  the  whole  northern  coast  of 
Carthage  Africa  ^.  They  at  once  marched  to  Carthage  (which 
of  surr^en-^  it  is  hard  to  understand  why  they  should  ever  have 
rebels.  ^  quitted),  and  called  upon  Theodore  to  surrender  the 
city.  Josephius,  one  of  the  literary  attendants  of 
Belisarius^,  who  happened  to  have  just  arrived  at 
the  capital,  was  sent  to  persuade  them  not  to 
resort  to  any  further  acts  of  violence ;  but  Stutza 
showed  the  soldier's  disdain  of  the  scribe  and  the 
mutineer's  contempt  of  the  rules  of  civilised  war- 

^  Tvpavvov  o-^Lcrip  elXovro.  The  man  who  was  *  tyrant '  in  the 
eyes  of  legitimate  authority  can  hardly  have  been  less  than 
king  to  his  own  followers. 

*  Much  in  the  same  way  as  the  Mamertine  mercenaries  of 
Agathocles  obtained  dominion  in  Sicily  B.C.  282,  or  the  Mame- 
lukes in  Egypt  in  the  thirteenth  century  of  our  era. 

^  The  description  of  the  character  and  office  of  Josephius 
(ii.  476),  'clerk  of  the  imperial  guards'  (rwi/  /Sao-tXews  cfivXaKcou 
ypafifiaT€vs)i  '  a  man  of  distinction  and  one  of  the  household  of 
Belisarius,'  may  at  least  illustrate  the  position  of  Procopius 
himself  in  the  arm  v. 

Arrival  of  Belisarius.  37 

fare  by  at  once  putting  him  to  death.     Despair  at  book  v. 
this  ruthless  deed  filled  the  hearts  of  the  scanty   _J!_1_ 
defenders  of  Carthage,  and  they  were  on  the  point      ^"  ' 
of  surrendering  the  city  to  the  insurgents. 

Such  was  the  state  of  affairs  when  in  an  hour  Arrival  of 

•ir»T~»T*  Belisarius. 

all  was  changed  by  the  arrival  of  Belisarius. 
He  sailed  from  Syracuse  with  one  ship,  probably 
the  same  which  had  brought  the  Eunuch,  and 
with  one  hundred  picked  men  of  his  body-guard 
on  board.  It  was  twilight  when  he  arrived.  The 
mutineers  were  encamped  round  the  city,  con- 
fident that  on  the  morrow  it  would  be  theirs. 
Day  dawned :  they  heard  that  Belisarius  was 
inside  the  walls :  awed  by  the  mere  name  of  the  Departure 
mighty  commander,  they  broke  up  their  camp  and  rebels. 
commenced  a  disorderly  retreat,  or  rather  flight, 
never  halting  till  they  reached  the  city  of  Mem- 
bressa  on  the  Bagradas,  fifty-one  Roman  miles 
south-west  from  the  capital  ^  Here  they  at  length  Belisarius 
ventured  to  encamp  ;  and  here  the  terrible  BeH- 
sarius  came  up  with  them,  having  only  2000  men 
under  his  standards,  whom  by  gifts  and  promises 
he  had  persuaded  to  return  to  their  former  loyalty. 
As  Membressa  itself  was  unwalled,  neither  army 
dared  to  occupy  it.  Belisarius  seems  to  have 
crossed  the  Bagradas  ^,  which  is  not  a  rapid  though 
a  pretty  copious  stream,  without  opposition,  and 

^  Equivalent  to  nearly  47  English  miles.  Procopius'  measure- 
ment, 350  stadia,  agrees  very  nearly  with  the  51  miles  of  the 
Antonine  Itinerary. 

^  The  Bagradas  is  the  modern  Medjerdah. 

38      Belisarius  at  Carthage  ajtd  at  Naples. 

BooKV.  encamped  near  to  its  banks.  The  mutineers, 
^"•^'  whose  army  must  have  been  five  times  as  large 
^^^'  as  his,  pitched  their  camp  on  an  elevated  spot, 
difficult  of  access.  Both  commanders,  according  to 
classic  custom,  harangued  their  men,  or  at  least  the 
Thucydidean  historian  whom  we  are  following  thinks 
proper   to    represent   them  as   thus   encouraging 

Speech  of  their  troops.  Belisarius,  while  deploring  the  hard 
'  necessity  which  compelled  him  to  take  up  arms 
against  the  men  who  had  once  echoed  his  own 
pass-word,  declared  that  they  had  brought  their 
ruin  on  themselves  by  their  unholy  deeds,  and 
that  the  devastated  fields  of  Africa,  and  the 
corpses  of  the  comrades  slain  by  them,  men  whose 
only  crime  was  their  loyalty,  demanded  ven- 
geance. He  was  persuaded  that  the  newly- raised 
tyrant  Stutza  would  want  that  confidence  in 
himself  and  in  the  prompt  obedience  of  his  troops 
which  alone  ensures  success.  And  he  ended  with 
a  maxim  of  which  his  own  career  was  to  afford 
a  signal  verification :  *  It  is  not  by  the  mass  of 
combatants  but  by  their  disciplined  courage  that 
victories  are  won.' 

Speech  of  Stutza  cnlarg^ed  on  the  insfratitude  which,  after 
they  had  undergone  the  toils  of  war,  had  given 
to  idle  non-combatants  the  fruits  of  victory.  After 
the  one  gleam  of  freedom  which  they  had  enjoyed 
during  the  last  few  weeks,  a  return  to  slavery 
would  be  ten  times  bitterer  than  their  previous 
condition.  If  indeed  even  to  live  as  slaves  would 
be  granted  them, — but  after  the   dangerous  ex- 


Defeat  of  the  Mutineers.  39 

ample  which  they  had  set,  they  must  expect,  if  book  v. 
vanquished,    to    suffer   unutterable    punishments,  ___L1L^ 
perhaps    to  expire   in  torment.     They  could  die      ^^  ' 
but  once  :  let  them  die,  if  need  were,  free  warriors 
on  that  battle-iield.    Nay,  rather,  let  them  conquer, 
as  they  must  do,  a  foe  so   greatly  their  inferior 
in   numbers,    and   whose   troops    in   their    secret 
hearts  were  only  longing  to  share  their  freedom. 

After  all  this  eloquence  the  battle  was  hardly  Battle  of 
a  battle.  The  mutineers,  finding  that  the  wind  gradus. 
blew  strongly  in  their  faces,  and  fearing  that 
their  spears  would  thus  fail  to  penetrate,  endea- 
voured to  make  a  flank  movement,  and  so  to 
get  to  windward  of  the  enemy.  Belisarius  did 
not  give  them  time  to  execute  this  manoeuvre, 
but  ordered  his  men  to  come  to  close  quarters 
at  once  while  the  mutineers  were  still  in  disorder. 
This  unexpected   attack    threw  them   into  utter  Defeat  of 

the  rebels. 

confusion.  They  fled  in  headlong  rout,  and  did 
not  draw  bridle  till  they  reached  Numidia.  The 
Vandals,  less  demoralised  than  the  disloyal  soldiers, 
for  the  most  part  refused  to  fly,  and  died  upon 
the  field  of  battle.  Belisarius'  army  was  too 
small  to  venture  with  safety  upon  a  long  pursuit, 
but  the  camp  of  the  enemy  was  given  up  to  be 
plundered  by  them.  They  found  it  richly  fur- 
nished with  gold  and  silver,  the  spoil  of  Carthage  ; 
utterly  deserted  by  the  men,  but  full  of  women,  the 
original  abettors  of  the  war,  who  had  now,  probably 
in  obedience  to  the  laws  of  Mars,  to  contract  a 
third  marriage,  with  their  new  conquerors. 

40      Belisarius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 

BOOKV.       The  rebellion  appeared  sufficiently  crushed  to 
"'       justify  Belisarius  in  returning  to  Sicily,  especially 

Kettrnof  ^^  there  was  a  danger  that  the  example  set  by 

Belisarius  ^]^g  Carthaginian  insurgents  might  be  followed  by 
the  army  stationed  there.  Accordingly,  leaviug 
his  son-in-law  Ildiger  and  Theodore  of  Cappadocia 
in  charge  of  the  African  capital,  he  sailed  away 
to  Syracuse. 

The  interest  which  the  mutiny  at  Carthage  pos- 
sesses for  us  consists  in  the  light  which  it  throws 
on  the  character  of  Belisarius,  and  the  ascendency 
which  he  exercised  over  a  greedy  and  licentious 
soldiery.  Its  course  after  he  disappears  from  the 
scene  must  be  described  as  briefly  as  possible. 

After-  The  Eoman  e^enerals  in  Numidia,  five  in  number, 

course  of  ^  ^  ^  ^ 

the  rebel-  finding  Stutza  with  his  band  close  to  their  frontier, 
marched  hastily  against  him,  thinking  to  crush 
him  before  he  could  re-form  his  scattered  army. 
He  advanced,  however,  into  the  space  between 
the  hostile  ranks,  and  delivered  a  short  and 
spirited  harangue,  the  result  of  which  was  that 
the  generals  found  themselves  deserted  by  their 
troops,  who  went  over  in  a  body  to  the  insur- 
gents. The  generals  took  shelter  in  a  neighbouring 
church,  surrendered  on  the  promise  of  their  lives 
being  spared,  and  were  all  slain  by  Stutza,  a  man 
without  pity  and  without  faith. 

Mission  of       The  mutiny  having  thus  become  more  formid- 

Germanus.      ,  i  ,  ^         .    .  i  •    i      i 

able  than  ever,  Justinian  took  a  step  which  he 
would  have  done  well  to  take  sooner.  He  sent 
his  nephew,  the  best  of  the  nobles  of  the  imperial 


Germanus  governor  of  Africa,  41 

liouse,  the  gentle  and  statesman-like  Germanus,  bookv 

.  .  Ch  2 

with  a  sufficient  supply  of  treasure  to  discharge 
the  soldiers'  arrears  of  pay,  which  had  evidently 
been  accumulating  for  some  time  ;  and  with  in- 
structions to  pursue  a  policy  of  conciliation  towards 
the  insurgents,  declaring  that  the  Emperor  only 
desired  the  good  of  his  brave  soldiers,  and  would 
severely  punish  all  who  had  injured  them.  The 
man  and  the  policy  were  so  well  matched  that 
Germanus,  who  at  first  found  under  the  imperial 
standard  only  a  third  of  the  troops  entered  on  the 
African  muster-rolls,  had  soon  under  his  command  a 
larger  number  of  soldiers  than  followed  the  fortunes 
of  Stutza.  The  rebels  lost  heart  and  fled  again 
into  Numidia.  A  battle  ensued  at  a  place  called  Battle  of 
Scalae  Veteres  ^,  the  site  of  which  does  not  appear  Veteres. 
to  have  been  identified.  The  fight  was  desperate 
and  confused.  Eebels  and  loyalists  were  so  like 
one  another  in  outward  appearance,  that  the  troops 
of  Germanus  were  obliged  to  be  continually  asking 
for  the  pass-word,  in  order  to  distinguish  friend 
from  foe.  The  horse  of  Germanus  was  killed 
under  him ;  but  in  the  end  his  standards  tri- 
umphed. Stutza  fled :  the  rebel  camp  was  sacked 
by  the  victorious  imperialists,  who  in  the  fury  of 
plunder  refused  to  listen  even  to  the  restraining 
voice  of  the  general.     A  squadron  of  Moors  who 

^  So  the  translators  agree  in  rendering  the  x^P^^^  ^  ^  KaX- 
Xaa^ardpas  KoXova-i  'Pcofiaioi  of  Procopius  (ii.  486)  :  but  possibly 
some  other  name,  which  might  lead  to  the  identification  of  the 
site,  is  concealed  under  it. 

42      Belisarms  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 
BOOK  V.  had  been  hovering  on  the  outskirts  of  the  battle, 

Ch   2 

1_  the  professed  allies  of  the  insurgents,  but  waiting 

to  see  which  side  was  favoured  by  Fortune,  now 

joined  the  Emperor's  forces  in  a  headlong  chase 

of  the  defeated  soldiers. 

536  or  537.      With  the  battle  of  Scalae  Veteres  the  military 

military     rebellion  was   at  an    end.     Stutza  with  some   of 

rebellion.    ^^  Vaudals  succecded  in  escaping  to  Mauritania, 

where   he   married   the  daughter   of  one    of  the 

Return  of  Moorish  chicfs.     Solomon,  who  on  the  departure 


539-  of  Germanus  was  sent  to  resume  the  government 

of  Africa,  expelled  the  Moors  from  Numidia  as 
well  as  from  the  Carthaginian  province,  and  for 
four  years  ruled  these  regions  in  peace  and  pros- 

His  death,  perjty.  In  543  some  acts  of  ill  faith  on  the  part 
of  the  Eomans  roused  the  hitherto  loyal  Moors 
of  Tripoli  and  Tunis  into  insurrection.  The  chief, 
Antalas,  long  a  faithful  ally  of  the  Eomans,  headed 
the  movement :  and  in  one  of  the  first  battles  of 
the  war,  the  Eunuch  Solomon,  deserted  by  a  large 
body  of  his  troops,  who  accused  him  of  parsi- 
moniously withholding  from  them  their  share  of 
the  spoils,  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy  and 

Sergius  was  slaiu.  His  nephew  Sergius,  a  young  man  of 
swaggering  demeanour,  ignorant  of  the  art  of  war, 
unpopular  with  the  generals  for  his  arrogance, 
w^ith  the  soldiers  for  his  cowardice  and  effeminacy, 
with  the  provincials  for  his  avarice  and  lust,  was 
entrusted  with  the  government  of  the  province, 
which  under  his  sway  went  rapidly  to  ruin. 

And  now  for  a  brief  space  Stutza  reappeared  on 


Misgovernment  of  Sergms,  43 

the  scene,  co-operaiing  with  Antalas,  and  labouring  book  v. 

not  altogether  in,  vain  to  combine  with  the  Moorish  1I1_ 

invasion    a   revival    of  the   old   military   mutiny.  Reappear- 

•^  "^     ance  oi 

Sergius  prosecuted  the  war  with  feebleness  and  ^*"*^^' 
ill-success.  John  the  son  of  Sisinniolus  \  his  best 
subordinate,  was  so  disgusted  by  the  governors 
arrogance  that  he  ceased  to  exert  himself  in  the 
imperial  cause.  And  after  every  defeat  which  Ser- 
gius sustained,  after  every  successful  siege  by  the 
Moors,  a  number  of  soldiers  joined  the  standards 
of  Stutza,  who  doubtless  still  harangued  as  volubly 
as  eight  years  ago  on  the  grievances  of  the  army 
and  the  rapacity  of  the  officials. 

At  len2:th  Justinian,  thous^h  by  this  time  he  Appoint- 
was  heartily  weary  of  his  Western  conquests  and  Areobin- 
the  endless  cares  in  which  they  involved  him,  sent  545'. 
a  few  soldiers  and  many  generals  to  do  their 
utmost  towards  finishing  the  war  in  Africa.  Among 
the  generals  was  Areobindus,  a  descendant  prob- 
ably of  the  great  Aspar,  all-powerful  under  Mar- 
cian  and  Leo  in  the  middle  of  the  previous  cen- 
tury. He  was  himself  allied  to  the  imperial  house, 
having  married  Justinian's  niece.  Under  Areo- 
bindus, John  the  son  of  Sisinniolus  was  willing 
to  fight,  and  not  only  willing  but  eager.  There 
was  only  one  man  in  the  world  whom  he  hated 
more  than  Sergius,  and  that  was  the  upstart 
Stutza.  The  hatred  was  mutual,  and  each  of 
these  men  had  been  heard  to  say,  that  if  he  could 
only  kill  the  other  he  would  himself  cheerfully 
^  Who  is  called  by  Corippus,  Joannes  Primus. 



4.4      Belisarius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 

BOOK  V.  expire.  The  double  prayer  was,  practically,  granted. 
'        A  slender  army  of  the  imperialists — for   Sergius 

-g  l^'  „    moodily  refused  his  co-operation — met  the  Moorish 

Sicca  Ve-  kins^  and  the  veteran  mutineer  on  the  plain  below 
Sicca  Venerea,  on  the  confines  of  the  African  and 
Numidian  provinces,  about  lOO  miles  south-west 
of  Carthage  ^  Before  the  battle  commenced, 
John  and  Stutza,  instinct  with  mutual  hatred,  rode 
forth  between  the  two  armies  to  try  conclusions 
with  one  another  in  single  combat.  An  arrow 
from  the  bow  of  the  imperial  general  wounded 

Death  of  Stutza  in  the  groin.  He  fell  to  the  earth  mor- 
tally wounded,  but  not  dead.  The  mutineers  and 
the  army  of  the  Moors  swept  across  the  plain, 
and  found  him  lying  under  a  tree,  gasping  out 
the  feeble  remains  of  life.  Full  of  rage  they 
dashed  on,  overpowered  the  scanty  numbers  of 
the  imperialists,  and  turned  them  to  flight.  John  s 
horse  stumbled  as  he  was  galloping  down  a  steep 
incline :  while  he  was  vainly  endeavouring  to 
mount,  the  enemy  surrounded  and  slew  him.  In 
a  few  minutes  Stutza  died,  happy  in  hearing  that 
his  great  enemy  had  fallen.  In  the  first  moment 
of  the  flight  John  had  said,  *  Any  death  is  sweet 
now,  since  my  prayer  that  I  might  slay  Stutza 
has  been  granted.' 

The  events  of  this  campaign  induced  Justinian 

^  An  interesting  description  of  KefF,  the  modern  representa- 
tive of  Sicca  Venerea,  and  a  sketch  of  the  rocky  eminence  on 
which  its  citadel  stands,  is  given  in  Dr.  Davis's  Carthage  and 
her  Remains  (London,  1861),  pp.  604-614.  Sicca  played  a 
not  unimportant  part  in  the  war  with  Jugurtha. 

Death  of  Stutza.  45 

at  last  to  remove  Sergius  from  the  government  book  v. 

Ch  2 

of  Africa   and  send  him  to  prosecute  the  war  in  _L. 

Italy.     After   murders,   insurrections,   chancres   of^®^^^"^, 

J  '  '  o  removed 

ruler  which  it   is   not  necessary  to  relate  here  \  ^^""^  ^"^^ 

^  governor- 

another   John,   distinguished    as    the   brother    of^^^P' 
Pappus,  was   appointed   Magister   Militum  2,   and 
sent  to  govern  Africa  ^.     Under  his  administra-  546. 

^  Areobindus  governor  545.  Slain  by  Gontharis,  Roman 
general  in  Numidia.  Tyranny  of  Gontharis.  He  is  slain  by 
ArtabaneSj  after  thirty-six  days'  rule,  545.  Artabanes  governor 

^  It  seems  that  at  this  time  all  pretence  of  governing  Africa 
by  a  civil  officer  had  vanished.  The  chief  ruler  appears  to  be 
always  Magister  Militum,  not  Praefectus  Praetorio. 

^  The  great  number  of  persons  bearing  the  name  of  the 
Apostle  John  is  a  confusing  element  in  the  history  of  these 
times.  In  the  absence  of  surnames  Procopius  is  very  careful  to 
distinguish  them  by  means  of  their  family  relationships.  We 
shall  have  two  generals  of  the  name  of  John  to  deal  with  in  the 
Italian  campaigns  of  Belisarius.  Meanwhile  in  the  history  of 
these  African  affairs  we  distinguish  the  following  bearers  of  the 
name : — 

I.  John  the  son  of  Sisinniolus,  the  enemy  of  Sergius  and  the 
slayer  of  Stutza. 

II.  John  the  brother  of  Pappus,  governor  of  Africa  for  some 
years  after  546.  He  was  the  hero  of  the  poem  of  Corippus, 
and  husband  (probably)  of  Justiua,  niece  of  Justinian. 

III.  John  the  Armenian,  brother  of  Artabanes,  slain  in  the 
same  battle  as  No.  I. 

IV.  John  the  usurper  (o  rvpawoi)^  also  called  Stutza  Junior, 
whom  the  soldiers  made  their  leader  after  the  death  of  Stutza. 
With  a  following  of  1000  soldiers  he  joined  the  usurper  Gon- 
tharis (545).  After  the  death  of  Gontharis  he  took  refuge  with 
some  Vandals  in  a  church,  surrendered  to  Artabanes  on  re- 
ceiving a  promise  that  his  life  should  be  spared,  and  was  sent 
bound  to  Constantinople  {545). 

(Procop.  de  B.  V.  ii.  28,  and  Marcellinus  Comes,  s.  a.  547 — 
two  years  too  late.) 

46      Belisarms  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 
EOOKV.  tion  the   province  again   enjoyed   some   years  of 

Ch  2 

tolerable  tranquillity,  and  the  Moors  were  brought 

into  order  and  subjection.  But  from  decade  to 
decade,  the  fine  country  which  had  once  owned 
the  sway  of  the  Vandals  sank  deeper  into 
ruin.  Many  of  the  provincials  fled  to  Sicily  and 
the  other  islands  of  the  Mediterranean  ^  The 
traveller,  in  passing  through  those  regions  which 
had  once  been  most  thickly  peopled,  now  scarcely 
met  a  single  wayfarer^.  Languishing  under 
barbarian  inroads,  imperial  misgovernment,  and 
iniquitous  taxation,  the  country  was  ripening 
fast  for  the  time  when  even  Saracen  invasion 
should  seem  a  relief  from  yet  more  intolerable 
Beiisariua  Our  rapid  survoy  of  events  in  Africa  has  carried 
in  Italy.  US  fully  ten  years  beyond  the  point  which  we  have 
reached  in  the  history  of  Italy.  We  go  back  to 
Belisarius,  landing  at  Syracuse,  on  his  return 
voyage  from  Carthage  in  April  or  May  536.  The 
fears  which  were  entertained  of  a  repetition  in 
Sicily  of  the  mutinies  of  Carthage  proved  ground- 
less ;  or,  if  there  had  been  disaffection,  the  soldiers 
at  the  mere  sight  of  a  born  ruler  like  Belisarius 
at  once  returned  to  their  accustomed  obedience. 
He  was  able  to  administer  the  best  antidote  to 
mutiny,  employment.  Leaving  sufficient  garrisons 
in  Syracuse  and  Palermo,  he  crossed  from  Messina 
to   Keggio,   and    planting    his    standard    on    the 

^  Procopius,  De  Bello  Vandalico,  ii.  23  (i.  512). 
^  Procopius,  Anecdota,  xviii.  (iii.  106). 

The  Byzantines  in  Magna  Graecia.         47 

Italian  soil,  was  daily  joined  by  large  numbers  of  book  v. 
the  inhabitants.  ' 

Belisarius  was  now  in  Magna  Graecia,  that  region  r^^^l^  ' 
which,  in  the  seventh  century  before  the  birth  of  p^J^i"®^ 

•^  m  Magna 

Christ,  was  so  thickly  sown  with  Hellenic  colonies  Graecia. 
that  it  seemed  another  Hellas.  Down  to  the  time 
of  the  wars  of  Eome  with  Pyrrhus  and  the  Taren- 
tines  (b.  c.  281-272)  this  Grecian  influence  had 
lasted  unimpaired.  How  far  it  had  in  the  suc- 
ceeding eight  centuries  been  obliterated  by  the 
march  of  Roman  legions,  by  the  foundation  of 
Eoman  colonies,  by  the  formation  of  the  slave- 
tilled  latifundia  of  Roman  proprietors,  there  are 
perhaps  not  sufficient  materials  to  enable  us  to 
decide.  Certainly  the  Byzantine  re-conquest  was 
both  easier  and  more  secure  in  Calabria  and 
Apulia  than  in  any  other  part  of  Italy.  One 
cause  of  this  was  that  there  were  fewer  Goths 
in  the  south  than  in  the  north.  Possibly  another 
cause  may  have  been  that  still  existing  remem- 
brances of  the  golden  age  of  Magna  Graecia  took 
the  sting  out  of  the  taunt,  '  They  are  but  Greek- 
lings  ^,'  which  was  sometimes  applied,  not  by 
Goths  only,  but  by  Italian  provincials,  to  the 
invaders  from  Byzantium.  To  trace  out  the  re- 
mains of  this  lingering  Hellenic  feeling,  and  to 
distinguish  them  from  the  undoubted  and  con- 
siderable influence  exerted  on  Southern  Italy  by 
the  Greeks  of  Constantinople  from  the  sixth 
century  to  the  twelfth,  would  be  an  interesting 
^  '  Graeculi  isti.' 

48      Belisarius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 
BOOK  V.  labour ;    but    it    is   one   which   lies    beyond   our 

Ch.2.  ,  .  _ 

present  province  \ 

EvetLud        ^^  Reggio  Belisarius  received  an  accession  to 
the  Goth    j^jg   ranks,    which   showed   the    weakness   of   the 

joins  ihe 

invaders,  national  feeling  of  the  Goths.  No  less  a  person- 
age than  Evermud,  the  son-in-law  of  Theodahad, 
who  had  been  entrusted  with  a  detachment  of 
troops  to  guard  the  Straits,  came  with  all  his 
retinue  ^  into  the  Roman  camp,  prostrated  himself 
at  the  feet  of  Belisarius,  and  expressed  his  desire 
to  be  subject  to  the  will  of  the  Emperor^.  His 
unpatriotic  subserviency  was  rewarded.  He  was 
at  once  sent  to  Constantinople,  that  haven  of  rest 
and  luxury,  which  all  Romanised  Goths  languished 
to  behold,  and  there  received  the  dignity  of  Patri- 
cian and  many  other  rewards  from  the  hand  of 

Advance         The  Romau  army  marched  on  unopposed  and 

to  Naples.  i    i  i  n    i  r»      i         n 

supported  by  the  parallel  movement  of  the  fleet, 
through  the  province  of  Bruttii  and  Lucania*. 
They  crossed  the  wide  bed  of  the  Silarus ;  they 
entered  the  province  of  Campania.  Still  no  Gothic 
army    disputed    the    passage    of   any   river,    nor 

^  Of  course  all  that  is  here  said  about  the  old  and  new 
Hellenism  of  South  Italy  applies,  with  certain  modifications,  to 
Sicily  also. 

^  For  the  received  text  ^vv  naial  toIs  cVo/xei/oiy,  the  alternative 
reading  ^vv  Trao-i  t.  e.,  found  in  Hoeschel's  edition,  seems  to  give 
a  better  sense. 

^  Jordanes  (De  Reb.  Get.  Ix.  and  De  Eeg.  Succ.  370)  gives 
the  Gothic  form  of  Procopius'  Ebrimuth,  and  supplies  a  few 

*  One  province,  not  two,  at  the  time  of  the  Notitia. 

Naples,  Ancient  and  Modern,  49 

threatened  them  from  any  mountain  height.     At  book  v. 
length   they   reached    a  strong   city  by  the    sea, 

defended  by  a  large  Gothic  garrison,  the  city  of     ^^  ' 
Neapolis,  the  modern  Naples.     Before  this  place 
Belisarius  was  to  tarry  many  days. 

The  modern  city  of  Naples  is  divided  into  twelve  Compari- 

.  .        .  .     son  of  an- 

quartieri.  It  is  built  along  a  winding  and  beauti-  cient  and 
fully  irregular  shore-line,  of  which  it  occupies  four  Naples. 
miles  in  length,  varying  in  breadth  from  one  mile 
to  two  and  a-lialf,  according  to  the  nature  of  the 
ground.  By  a  recent  census  it  contained  about 
460,000  inhabitants.  The  Neapolis  of  the  Eoman 
Empire  occupied  a  space  only  a  little  overlapping 
one  of  the  twelve  modern  quartieri,  that  of  S.  Lo- 
renzo. It  formed  an  oblong  about  1000  yards  in 
length  by  800  in  breadth.  Apparently  we  have 
no  means  of  stating  its  exact  population  at  any 
period  of  the  Empire  ;  but,  if  we  conjecture  it  at 
a  twelfth  of  the  population  of  the  modern  city,  we 
shall  probably  be  exaggerating  rather  than  depre- 
ciating the  number  of  its  inhabitants. 

It  is  thus  evident  that  the  modern  traveller 
must  unclothe  himself  of  many  of  his  remem- 
brances of  the  existing  city  of  Naples  in  order 
to  form  anything  like  an  accurate  idea  of  the  place 
which  Belisarius  besieged.  It  may  be  well  to  pro- 
ceed by  the  method  of  rejection,  and  to  indicate 
the  chief  points,  conspicuous  in  a  modern  panorama 
of  Naples,  which  we  must  eliminate  in  order  to 
obtain  the  true  value  of  the  ancient  Neapolis. 
Starting,  then,  from  the  western  extremity,  from 

VOL.  IV.  E 

50      Belisarhcs  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples. 

BOOK  V.  Posilippo  and  the  Tomb  of  Virgil,  we  come  first  to 
^'  the  houses  which  look  upon  the  long  drives  and 
shrubberies  of  the  Kiviera  di  Chiaia.  We  see  at  a 
glance  that  these  are  modern.  They  no  more  be- 
long to  the  classical,  or  even  the  mediaeval,  city 
than  the  Champs  filysees  of  the  French  capital 
belong  to  the  Lutetia  of  Julian  or  the  Paris  of  the 
Valois  kings.  But  two  natural  strongholds  arrest 
the  eye  as  we  move  onwards  towards  the  city :  on 
the  right  the  little  fortress-crowned  peninsula  of 
Castello  deir  Ovo,  on  the  left  the  frowning  ridge 
of  the  all-commanding  Castle  of  St.  Elmo.  With 
the  first  we  have  already  made  acquaintance.  The 
site  of  the  villa  of  Lucullus,  the  luxurious  gilded 
cage  of  the  deposed  Augustulus,  the  shrine  of  the 
sainted  Severinus,  it  suggests  interesting  specu- 
lations as  to  who  may  have  been  its  occupants 
when  the  trumpets  of  Belisarius  sounded  before 
its  walls,  but  it  is  emphatically  no  part  of  the  city 
of  Neapolis.  Saint  Elmo  brings  vividly  before  us 
the  differences  between  ancient  and  modern  warfare. 
From  the  fourteenth  century  onwards  (at  least  till 
the  most  recent  changes  in  the  science  of  gunnery 
deprived  it  of  its  importance)  it  was  emphatically 
the  stronghold  of  Naples.  He  who  held  that 
tyrannous  crest  of  rock  virtually  held  the  town. 
And  yet  in  the  wars  of  the  Eomans  and  the  Goths 
this  magnificent  natural  fortress  seems  to  have 
been  absolutely  unimportant.  The  nearest  houses 
of  Neapolis  were  about  three-quarters  of  a  mile 
distant  from  the  base  of  Saint  Elmo,  and  in  those 

Naples^  Ancient  and  Modern.  51 

days  of  catapults  and  balistae  this  distance  would  book  v. 

Ch  2 

seem  to  have  been  enough  to  rob  even  such  an  ,  '  '  I, 
eminence  of  its  terrors  ;  otherwise  we  must  surely 
have  heard  of  its  being  occupied  by  Belisarius.  We 
move  forwards  to  the  east,  still  keeping  tolerably 
near  the  shore.  The  far-famed  Theatre  of  San 
Carlo,  the  Bourbon  Palace  with  its  rearing  horses  in 
bronze,  the  massive  Castel  Nuovo,  and  the  two  har- 
bours below  it,  all  these  are  outside  of  the  ancient 
city.  Outside  of  it  too  is  the  quaint  and  dingy 
Largo  del  Mercato,  that  most  interesting  spot  to 
a  lover  of  mediaeval  Naples,  where  market-women 
chatter  and  chaffer  over  the  stone  once  reddened 
with  the  blood  of  Conradin,  where  a  poet's  ear 
might  still  almost  hear  the  gauntlet  of  the  last 
of  the  Swabians  ring  upon  the  pavement,  sum- 
moning his  Aragonese  kinsman  to  the  age-long 
contest  with  the  dynasty  of  Anjou.  All  this  is 
Naples,  but  not  Neapolis.  Where  then  is  the  an- 
cient city?  Turn  back  towards  the  north-west, 
strike  the  busy  street  of  the  Toledo  about  a  third 
of  the  way  up  on  its  course  from  the  sea.  Here  at  Limits  of 
length  we  are,  not  at,  but  near,  the  site  of  the 
classical  city,  whose  western  wall  once  ran  parallel 
to  the  Toledo  at  a  distance  of  about  150  yards 
to  the  right.  The  Piazza  Cavour  (Largo  delle 
Pigne)  and  Strada  Carbonara  lie  a  little  outside 
of  the  northern  boundary  of  Neapolis.  Castel 
Capuano  (near  the  modern  railway  station)  marks 
its  extreme  eastern  point.  The  southern  wall  ran 
along  a  little  range  of  higher  ground  (now  nearly 

E  2 

52      Belisarhcs  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 

BOOKV.  levelled  with  the  plain  below  it),  at  a  distance  of 
^1_L  some  two  or  three  hundred  yards  from  the  coast- 
line, from  the  Church  of  the  Annunziata  to  the  Uni- 
versity. One  suburb  on  the  west  perhaps  once 
extended  about  half-way  from  the  western  wall  of 
the  ancient  city  to  the  Toledo,  and  another  on  the 
south  may  probably  have  filled  up  in  a  similar  way 
the  interval  between  the  city  and  the  sea^ 
Traces  of        The  block  of  grouud  thus  indicated  once  stood 

the  old  Ro-  .     ^  f    . 

man  city,  out — difficult  as  it  is  uow  to  belicve  it — somewhat 
abruptly  above  the  surrounding  plain  ^.  Even  now, 
looking  at  it  on  the  map,  we  can  trace  in  it  the 
handiwork  of  the  Koman  surveyors.  Its  three 
broad  'Decuman'  streets  running  from  east  to 
west  (Strada  Nilo^,  Strada  dei  Tribunali,  and  Strada 
Anticaglia),  intersected  by  twenty-three  '  Cardines' 
running  from  north  to  south,  still,  notwithstanding 
the  alterations  made  in  them  to  gratify  the  Nea- 
politan passion  for  church  building,  exhibit  an 
appearance  of  regularity  and  rectangularity  con- 
spicuously absent  in  the  other  part  of  the  city, 
the  haphazard  growth  of  the  Middle  Ages.  Roman 
remains  have  at  various  times  been  discovered 
under  almost  the  whole    of    the    space    denoted 

^  Capasso  thinks  that  the  sea  has  not  here  receded  more  than 
a  few  yards  since  the  days  of  the  Eomans. 

^  This  seems  to  be  the  general  opinion  of  the  topographers, 
yet  the  measurements  given  by  Beloch  (p.  63)  of  the  level  at 
which  Roman  remains  have  been  found,  do  not  seem  to  give 
a  depth  of  more  than  about  twenty  feet  for  the  depression 
north  of  the  city. 

^  With  its  continuation  Strada  Biagio  and  Strada  Forcella. 

Naples  and  Pompeii,  53 

above,  but  nothing  is  now  left  for  tlie  lover  of  book  v. 
Eoman    antiquity  to   gaze    upon    save    two   Co-  _ — *__ 
rintliian  columns  of  the  Temple  of  the  Dioscuri 
built  into  the  church  of   S.  Paolo  Maggiore,  and 
some  faint  traces  of  the  ancient  Theatre  lingering 
in  the  yards  and  cellars  of  the  Strada  Anticaglia^ 

Fortunately  we  have  an  excellent  aid  to  the  Likeness  of 

1     .  1      p  1       Neapolisto 

imagination  m  endeavouring  to  bring  beiore  the  Pompeii, 
mental  vision  the  Neapolis  which  Procopius  gazed 
upon.  The  neighbouring  town  of  Pompeii  is  very 
similar  in  dimensions  and  shape,  and  w^as  probably 
very  similar  in  character^.  Only  we  must  suppose 
that  nearly  five  centuries — centuries  upon  the 
whole  rather  of  the  decay  of  art  than  of  its  de- 
velopment— had  passed  over  the  Tahlina  and  the 
Triclinia  of  the  buried  city  to  make  it  correspond 
with  its  surviving  neighbour.  The  heathen  tem- 
ples must  be  imagined  to  have  fallen  somewhat 
into  decay,  and  several  Christian  basilicas  must  be 
allowed  to  have  grown  uj)  under  their  shadow.  The 
fact  that  the  four  oldest  parish  churches  in  Naples^ 
— S.  Giovanni  Maggiore,  Santi  Apostoli,  S.  Giorgio 
Maggiore,  and  S.  Maria  Maggiore — all  belong  to 
the  district  whose  confines  we  have  traced,  is  an  in- 
teresting confirmation  of  the  truth  of  its  antiquity*. 

^  Between  the  Vico  di  S.  Paolo  and  the  Vico  dei  Giganti. 

^  Pompeii  as  well  as  Neapolis  seems  to  have  been  about 
looo  yards  long  by  800  broad. 

^  The  Duomo  (dedicated  to  S.  Gennaro),  though  situated 
within  this  district  and  on  the  site  of  the  temples  of  Neptune 
and  Apollo,  dates  from  the  period  of  the  Angevin  kings. 

*  The   alluring  pursuit    of  all   enquirers   into   the   earliest 


54      Belisarhcs  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples. 

BOOKV.       Belisarius  stationed   his   fleet   in   the  harbour, 

"'  '     where    they  were  beyond  the  range  of  the  pro- 

g.  ^^  '     jectiles  of  the  enemy.    A  Gothic  garrison  stationed 

operations  \^  ^  ^^  suburb '  (possiblv  the  suburb  between  the 

ofBelisa-  ^-L  "^ 

"US.  city  and  the  sea)  at  once  surrendered  to  the  in- 

Embassy  vadeis.  Then  a  message  was  sent  to  the  Roman 
citizens,  general  asking  him  if  he  v/ould  consent  to  receive 
a  deputation  of  some  of  the  principal  inhabitants 
of  the  city,  anxious  to  confer  with  him  for  the 
public  welfare.  He  consented,  and  the  deputation, 
with  one  Stephanas  at  its  head,  appeared  before 
Speech  of  him.  Stcphanus  pleaded  the  hard  case  of  the 
Roman  citizens  of  Naples,  summoned  by  a  Roman 
army  to  surrender  their  town,  and  prevented  from 
doing  so  by  a  Gothic  garrison.  Nor  were  even 
these  Gothic  soldiers  free  agents.  Their  wives 
and  children  were  in  the  hands  of  Theodahad,  who 
would  assuredly  visit  upon  them  any  fault  which 

history  of  Neapolis  is  the  attempt  to  fix  the  site  of  Palaepolis, 
the  elder  sister  of  that  city,  like  her  founded  from  Cumae,  but 
ultimately  absorbed  in  or  obliterated  by  the  greatness  of  her 
younger  rival.  Many  Neapolitan  archaeologists  fix  Palaepolis 
on  the  east  of  the  other  city.  Niebuhr,  with  a  somewhat 
amusing  positiveness,  fixes  it  far  to  the  west,  near  Posilippo. 
S.  Capasso  contends  for  a  nearer  position  on  the  south-west,  at 
the  Castel  Nuovo  and  on  the  site  of  the  present  Palazzo  Eeale. 
Beloch  argues  that  there  never  was  such  a  city  as  Palaepolis, 
and  that  the  mention  of  it  is  due  to  a  misunderstanding  of  the 
word  Palaepolitani — the  old  citizens  of  Neapolis  as  opposed  to 
some  new  settlers.  But  in  the  face  of  Livy's  clear  statement 
(viii.  2  2)  as  to  the  situation  of  the  two  cities,  and  the  record  in 
the  Triumphal  Fasti  of  the  victory  of  Publilius  over  the 
'  Samnites  Palaeopolitanei,'  this  seems  too  bold  a  stroke  of 
historical  scepticism. 

speech  of  Stephanies.  55 

the  garrison  might  commit  towards  him.     In  these  book  v. 
cruel  circumstances  the  citizens  begged  BeUsarius  __"l^ 
not  to  press  upon  them  his  summons  to  surrender.      ^^  ' 
After  all,  it  was  not  there,  but  under  the  walls  of 
Eome,  that  the  decisive  engagement  would  have  to 
be  fought.     If  Rome  were  reduced  to  the  Emperor's 
obedience,  Neapolis  must  inevitably  follow  its  ex- 
ample.    If  the  general  were  repulsed  from  Rome, 
the  possession  of  a  little  city  like  Neapolis  would 
avail  him  nothing. 

Belisarius   coldly   thanked    the    orator    for    his  Reply  of 

.  c*      ^  •  1  Belisarius. 

advice  as  to  the  course  ot  the  campaign,  but 
announced  his  intention  of  conducting  the  war 
according  to  his  own  notions  of  military  expe- 
diency. To  the  Roman  inhabitants  he  offered  the 
choice  of  freedom  to  be  achieved  by  his  arms ;  or 
slavery,  they  themselves  fighting  to  keep  the  yoke 
upon  their  necks.  He  could  hardly  doubt  what  in 
such  circumstances  their  choice  would  be,  especially 
as  the  prosperous  condition  of  the  loyal  Sicilians 
showed  that  he  was  both  able  and  willing  to  keep 
the  promises  which  he  made  in  the  name  of  the 
Emperor.  Even  to  the  Goths  he  could  offer 
honourable  terms.  Let  them  either  enter  his 
army  and  become  the  servants  of  the  great  Monarch 
wdiom  the  civilised  world  obeyed,  or,  if  they  refused 
this  proposal,  on  the  surrender  of  the  city  they 
should  march  out  unharmed  (it  is  to  be  presumed 
with  the  honours  of  war),  and  depart  whither  they 

Stephanus,   whose    patriotism   had  been  quick- 

56      Belisariits  at  Carthage  a7td  at  Naples. 

BOOKV.  ened  by  the  promise  of  large  rewards  to  himself 

^"'^'     if  he  coiiid  bring  about  the  surrender  of  the  city, 

1.  ^^^' '    strove   earnestly    to    induce  his  fellow-citizens  to 

Debates  m  -^ 

the  city,  accept  the  terms  of  Belisarius.  He  was  seconded 
in  these  efforts  by  a  Syrian  merchant  named  Antio- 
chus,  long  resident  in  Neapolis,  a  man  of  great 
wealth  and  high  reputation.  Two  orators  how- 
ever, named  Pastor  and  Asclepiodotus,  also  men 
of  great  influence  in  the  city,  stood  forth  as  the 
advocates  of  an  opposite  policy,  one  of  loyalty 
to  the  Goths  and  resistance  to  Byzantium.  If  we 
are  perplexed  at  finding  professed  rhetoricians  and 
men  of  letters  (one  of  whom  bears  a  Greek  name) 
championing  the  cause  of  the  barbarians,  we 
may  remember  the  life-long  loyalty  of  Cassiodorus 
to  the  house  of  Theodoric,  and  may  conjecture 
that  other  men  of  like  training  to  his  had  been 
induced  to  enter  the  Gothic  service.  Some  of 
these,  like  the  two  rhetoricians  now  before  us, 
ma}^  have  had  statesmanship  enough  to  see  that 
the  so-called  '  Roman  liberty '  which  was  offered 
to  the  Italians  would  mean  only  a  change  of 
masters,  and  that  change  not  necessarily  one  for 
the  better. 
Belisarius  By  the  advicc  of  Pastor  and  Asclepiodotus,  the 
oifered  dcmauds  of  the  Neapolitans  were  raised  so  high 
capituia-  til  at  iu  their  opinion  Belisarius  would  never  grant 
them.  A  memorandum  containing  these  demands 
was  presented  by  Stephanus  to  the  General,  who 
accepted  them  and  confirmed  his  acceptance  by 
an  oath.     On  the  news  of   this  favourable  reply 

Pastor  and  Asclepiodotus,  57 

the  pressure   in   favour   of  surrender   became    so  book  v. 

strong  that  the  Gothic  garrison  alone  would  not  . "l!1- 

have  ventured  to  resist  it.  The  common  people  ^^  ' 
had  begun  to  stream  down  towards  the  gates 
with  the  intention  of  opening  them  :  but  then  the 
two  orators  '  whose  sentence  was  for  open  war ' 
gathered  the  Goths  and  the  principal  Neapolitans 
together  and  again  harangued  them  in  support  of 
their  views  :  '  The  mob  have  taken  this  thought  of  Pastor  and 

.  .  .  Asclepio- 

surrender  into  their  minds  and  are  ea2:er  to  execute  dotus 

t      1 
it^     But  we,  who    deem  that   they  are  rushing  oppose  the 

headlong  to  ruin,  are   bound  to  consult  you,  the 

leaders  of  the  state,  and  to  put  our  thoughts  before 

you,  the  last  contribution  that  we  can  make  to  the 

welfare  of  our  country.     You  think  that,  because 

you  have  the  promise  and  the  oath  of  Belisarius, 

you  are  now  relieved  from  all  further  danger  of 

the    horrors    of  war.      And    if  that  were   so,   w^e 

should    be  the    first  to    advise  you  to   surrender. 

But    how    can    Belisarius    guarantee   your  future 

security  %     He    is  going   to    fight    the    nation    of 

the  Goths  under  the   walls   of  Bome.       Suppose 

that  he  does  not  gain  the  victory :  you  will  have 

the  Gothic  warriors  in   a  few    days   before  your 

gates  breathing  vengeance  against  the  cowardly 

betrayers  of  their  trust.      And  on  the  other  hand, 

if  he  wins,  even  on  that  most  favourable  supposi- 

^  From  this  and  other  passages  there  seems  some  reason  to 
conclude  that  the  aristocratic  party  at  Naples  were  at  this  time 
in  favour  of  the  Gothic  dominion,  the  democracy  in  favour  of 
the  Byzantine. 

58      Belisarius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples. 

]500KV.  tion  you   will  have  to   make  up  your    minds    to 

!!'IL   the  permanent   presence  of  an  imperial  garrison 

^^^'      in  your  town.     For  the  Emperor,  though  he  may 
be  much   obliged  to  you   for  the   moment  for  re- 
moving   an    obstacle    out   of    his  path,    will    not 
fail  to   make    a  note  of  the  fact  that  the   Nea- 
politans are  a  fickle  and  disloyal  people,  not  safe 
to  be  trusted  with  the  defence  of  their  city.     No : 
depend  upon  it,  you  will  stand  better  both  with 
friends  and  foes   if  you  do  not  lightly  surrender 
the    trust  committed    to   your    hands.    Belisarius 
cannot   take   the    city :    the    magnitude    of    the 
promises  which  he  makes  to  you  is  the  plainest 
proof  of  that.       You   have   strong  walls  and  an 
abundant  supply  of  provisions.     Only  stand  firm 
for  a  few  days  and  you  will  see  the  cloud  of  war 
.Jewish       roll  away  from  your  borders/     With  this  the  ora- 
the^Goths.  tors  brought  forward  some  Jews  to  vouch  for  the 
fact  that  Neapolis  was  well  provisioned  for  a  siege. 
The  Israelite  nation  were  always  in  favour  of  the 
tolerant  rule  of  Theodoric  and  his   successors   as 
against  the  narrow  bigotry  of   Byzantium.     Ap- 
jDarently,  in  this  instance,  they  were  able  to  speak 
with  authority,  being  the  merchants  by  whose  aid 
the  needful  stores  of  provision  had  been  procured. 
Negotia-    The  result  of   the  harangue  of  the  two  orators, 
s'urrender   backcd    by  thc  assurauccs  of  the   Hebrews,  was 
that  the   party   of   surrender   was   outvoted,   and 
Belisarius,  sorely  vexed  at  the  delay,  but  unwilling 
to  leave  so  strong  a  place  untaken  in  his  rear,  had 
to  set  about  the  siege  of  Neapolis. 

The  Omen  of  the  Hogs.  59 

The  citizens,  bavins:  resolved  on  a  stubborn  de-  bookv, 

.  Ch  2 

fence,  appealed,   as  they   had   abundant   right  to  Li- 
do, to  Theodahad  for  assistance.     That  miserable^  ^l9x\.<^ 
prince,   utterly  unready   for  war,  seems  to  have  ^^^°'^*' 
allowed  the  precious    winter   months    to   slip  by 
without  making  any  preparations  of  importance, 
and  was  now  seeking  to  diviners   and  soothsayers 
for  knowledge   as  to    that   future   which   he   had 
done  nothing   to    mould.      His    classical   reading 
might  have   made    him    familiar  with   the    well- 
known  saying  of  Hector, — 

Eis   olcovos   apiaros,   up-vveaOai  nepl   Trdrprjs  ^. 

But  instead  of  this  robust  determination  to  con-  xheodaiiad 
quer   Fortune,  the   dreamy  mysticism  of  his  own  trthe" 
Etruria,  intent  for  centuries   on   poring  over  the  '^'''^"^''^; 
page  of   futurity,  swayed  the  nerveless  spirit  of 
Theodahad.     The  manner  of  divination,  concerted 
between  him  and  a  Jewish  magician,  was  ridicu- 
lous enough  to  have  been  practised  by  any  Roman 
augur.     Thirty  hogs,  divided  into  three  batches  of  Omen  of 
ten  each,   were  shut    up  in  three  separate  pens. 
One  was  labelled  '  Troops  of  the  Emperor,^  another 
'  Goths,'  and  the  last  *  Romans.'      The  unfortunate 
animals  were   then  left  for  a  certain  number   of 
days  without  food.     When  the  pens  were  opened, 
it  was  found  that  the  Gothic  hogs  had  all  perished 
save  two,  that  of  the  Roman   animals  half  had 
died  and   the    remaining  half  had  lost  all  their 

^  'No  better  omen  than  his  own  right  hand 
Inspires  the  warrior  for  his  native  land.' 

60      Belisaritis  at  Ca7dhage  and  at  Naples. 

BOOKV.  bristles,  while  the  Imperialists  were  nearly  all 
Ch^^  alive  and  seemed  to  have  suffered  nothing  from 
^^^'  their  captivity.  The  inference  was  obvious.  The 
Gothic  race  was  doomed  to  almost  utter  exter- 
mination ;  the  provincials  of  Italy  should  suffer 
cruel  hardships  and  the  loss  of  all  their  property, 
but  half  of  the  nation  should  survive  the  war ; 
while  the  Byzantine  invaders  alone  should  emerge 
from  it  fat  and  flourishing.  After  this  augury 
of  the  hogs,  Theodahad  felt  himself  even  less  pre- 
pared than  before  to  send  effectual  succour  to  the 
Vigorous  The  citizens,  however,  were  making  so  good  a 
oftheNe-  defence  that  it  seemed  as  if  they  might  be  able 
to  do  without  reinforcements.  The  steepness  of 
the  approaches  to  the  walls,  the  narrow  space 
between  them  and  the  sea, "  which  left  no  room 
for  the  evolutions  of  troops,  and  possibly  some 
defect  in  the  harbourage  which  made  it  difficult  for 
the  ships  to  approach  near  enough  to  hurl  pro- 
jectiles into  the  city,  all  made  the  task  of  Beli- 
sarius  one  of  unusual  difficulty.  He  had  cut  off 
the  aqueduct  which  brought  water  from  Serine,  in 
the  valley  of  the  Samnite  river  Sabatus,  into 
Neapolis ;  but  there  were  so  many  excellent  wells 
within  the  enclosure  that  the  inhabitants  scarcely 
perceived  any  diminution  of  their  water-supply. 
Discou-  As  day  passed  on  after  day  and  still  no  breach 
of  Beiisa-  was  made  in  the  walls,  and  many  of  his  bravest 
soldiers  were  falling  in  the  useless  assaults,  Belisa- 
rius,  chafing  at  the  delay,  began  bitterly  to  repent 


The  I  saurian  in  the  Aqueduct.  61 

that   he  had  ever  undertaken  the  siege.     It  was  book  v. 

still  perhaps  only  June  ^  but  twenty  days  of  the   ^1."!^ 

siege  had  already  elapsed,  and  at  this  rate  it  would      ^^^' 
be  winter  before  he  met  Theodahad  and  the  great 
Gothic  host  under  the  walls  of  Kome. 

At  this  crisis,   when  he  w^as  on  the   point   ofTi^eisau- 

^  ^     nan  m  the 

giving  the  order  to  the  soldiers  to  collect  their  aqueduct, 
baggage  and  raise  the  siege,  one  of  his  body-guard, 
an  Isaurian  named  Paucaris,  brought  him  tidings 
which  gave  him  a  gleam  of  hope.  One  of  his 
fellow-countrymen,  a  private  soldier,  clambering, 
as  these  Isaurian  mountaineers  were  in  the  habit 
of  doing,  up  every  steep  place  that  they  could 
scale,  had  come  to  the  end  of  the  broken  aqueduct. 
Curious  to  see  the  s^ecus  or  channel  along  which 
the  water  had  once  flowed,  he  had  entered  through 
the  aperture,  which  had  been  imperfectly  closed  by 
the  defenders  of  the  city,  and  crept  for  some  dis- 
tance along  the  now  waterless  conduit.  At  length 
he  came  to  a  part  of  its  course  where  it  was  taken 
through  the  solid  rock,  and  here,  to  save  labour, 
the  diameter  of  the  s^ecus  was  smaller,  too  small 
for  a  man  in  armour  to  creep  through  it.  Yet  he 
deemed  that  the  hole  might  be  widened  suffi- 
ciently to  remove  this  difficulty,  and  that  it 
would  then  be  possible  to  penetrate  by  this 
forgotten   passage   into   the   city   itself      Belisa- 

^  Procopius'  indications  of  time  are  not  very  clear  at  this 
point,  but  I  conjecture  that  the  siege  of  Neapolis  may  have 
occupied  the  last  twenty  days  of  June,  perhaps  reaching  on 
into  July.  The  deposition  of  Theodahad,  which  was  its  imme- 
diate result,  occurred  in  August. 

62      Belisarius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 

BOOKV.  rius  at  once  perceived  the  importance  of  the  dis- 

__!_  CO  very,  and  sent  some  Isaurians,  with  the  utmost 

^^  ■      secrecy,  under  the  guidance  of  their  countryman 

Theaqiie-  to  accompKsh  the  desired  excavation.      They  used 

duct  made  . 

pracbica-    no  axc  or  hammer,  that  they  might  not  alarm  the 


enemy.    Patiently,  with  sharp  instruments  of  steel 
they  filed  away  at  the  rock,  and  at  length  returned 
to  the  General,  announcing  that  there  was  now  a 
practicable  passage  through  the  aqueduct. 
Belisarius       But  bcfore  attempting  by  this  means  the  assault 

gives  the  .  t^   a-         >  i    '  •        i 

citizens      of  the  City,  Bclisarius  determined  to  make    one 
chance  of    morc  cffort  to  persuadc  the  inhabitants  to  sur- 



render.  Sending  for  Stephanus,  he  said  to  him 
(in  words  which  remind  us  of  a  well-known  utter- 
ance of  our  own  Duke  of  Wellington),  '  Many  are 
now  the  cities  that  I  have  seen  taken,  and  I  am 
perfectly  familiar  with  all  that  goes  on  at  such 
a  time, — the  grown  men  slain  with  the  edge  of 
the  sword ;  the  women  suffering  the  last  extremity 
of  outrage,  longing  for  death  but  unable  to  find 
one  friendly  destroyer  ;  the  children  driven  off  into 
bondage,  doomed  to  sink  from  an  honourable  con- 
dition into  that  of  half-fed  and  ignorant  boors, 
slaves  of  the  very  men  whose  hands  are  red  with' 
the  blood  of  their  parents  :  and  besides  all  this, 
the  leaping  flames  destroying  in  an  hour  all  the 
comeliness  of  the  city.  I  can  see  as  in  a  mirror, 
my  dear  Stephanus,  your  fair  city  of  Neapolis 
undergoing  all  these  horrors  which  I  have  beheld 
in  so  many  of  the  towns  that  I  have  taken ;  and 
my  whole  soul   is  stirred  with  pity  for  her  and 

Belisarius  on  the  horrors  of  War.  63 

her    inhabitants.     She    is   a  city    of  old    renown,  book  v. 
They   are    Romans   and    Cliristians,   and    I    have     ^^'  ^' 
many  barbarians   in    my   army,   hard   to    restrain      536. 
at  any  time,  and  now  maddened  by  the  loss  of 
brethren    and    comrades  who   have   fallen  in  the 
siege.      I  will  tell  you  honestly  that  you  cannot 
escape   me.     The  plans  which   I  have  made  are 
such  that  the  city  must  fall  into  my  hands.     Be 
advised  by  me,  and  accept  an  honourable  capitu- 
lation while  you  can.     If  3^ou  refuse,  blame  not 
Fortune,    but    your    own   perversity    for    all    the 
miseries  that  shall  come  upon  you.'     With  tears  The  citi- 
and  lamentations  Stephanus  delivered  to  his  fellow-  not  accept 
citizens  the  message  of  Belisarius ;  but  they,  con- 
fident   in   the    impregnability  of  their   city,   still 
abjured  every  thought  of  surrender. 

As  there  was  no  possibility  of  avoiding  the  Prepara- 
assault,  Belisarius  proceeded  to  make  his  plans  theassauit. 
for  it  as  perfect  as  possible.  At  twilight  he 
chose  out  four  hundred  men  whom  he  placed 
under  the  command  of  Magnus,  a  cavalry  officer, 
and  Eunes,  a  leader  of  the  Isaurians.  Though 
we  are  not  expressly  told  that  it  was  so,  there 
seems  some  reason  to  suppose  that  the  half  of 
this  force  commanded  by  Eunes  was  itself  of 
Isaurian  nationality;  and  no  doubt  both  Paucaris 
and  the  original  discoverer  of  the  passage  took 
part  in  the  expedition.  The  men  were  fully 
armed  with  shield,  breastplate,  and  sword,  and 
two  trumpeters  went  with  them.  The  whole 
secret  of  the  plan  w^as  then  disclosed  to  Magnus 

64      Belisariits  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples. 

BOOK  V.  and  Eunes ;    the   spot  was  indicated  where  they 

'        were  to  enter  the  aqueduct,  and  from  whence  with 

^^  '  hghted  torches  they  and  their  four  hundred  were 
to  creep  stealthily  into  the  city.  Meanwhile  the 
Eoman  host  was  kept  under  arms  ready  for  action, 
and  the  carpenters  were  set  to  work  preparing 
ladders  for  the  assault. 
Some  of  the      At  first  tlic  General  had  to  endure  a  disappoint- 

exploring  t^    n  i      i  f»      p     i  i 

party  turn  meut.     x*uliy  ouG  halt  01  the  aqueduct  party — the 
hearted.     nou-Isauriau  half  if  our  conjecture  be  correct — 
when  they  had  crept  for  some  distance  through 
the  dark  channel,  declared  that  the  deed  was  too 
dangerous,  and  marched  back  to  the  entrance,  the 
reluctant   and    mortified   Magnus   at   their   head. 
others       BcHsarius,  who  was  still  standing  there  surrounded 
by  some  of  the  bravest  men  in  the  army,  had  no 
difSculty  in  at  once  selecting  two  hundred  volun- 
teers to  take  the  place  of  the  recreants  ;  and  his 
gallant  step-son  Photius,  claiming  to  be  allowed 
to   head    the    expedition,  leapt   eagerly  into   the 
aqueduct.     The  General  thought  of  Antonina,  and 
forbade  her  son  to  venture  through  the  channel ; 
All  go  for-  but  the   example  of  his  bravery  and  the  bitter 
taunts  of  Belisarius  so  stung  the  waverers,  that 
they  too  returned  into  the  aqueduct,  thus  appar- 
ently raising  the  numbers  of  the  storming  party  to 
six  hundred. 
Bessas  en-       Fearing  that  so  large  a  detachment  might  make 
attention    some  uoisc  which  would  be  heard  by  the  Gothic 
rison!  ^^^'  scntincls,  the  General  ordered  his  lieutenant  Bessas 
to  draw  near  to  the  walls  and  engage  their  attention. 

The  Soldiers  in  the  Aqueduct.  65 

Bessas    harangued  them    accordingly  in  his   and  book  v. 

their  native  tongue,  enlarging  on  the  rich  rewards 

of  the  imperial  service,  and  advising  them  to  enter  ^^  * 
it  without  delay.  They  replied  with  taunts  and 
insults ;  but  the  object  was  gained.  In  the  storm 
of  the  debate,  amid  all  the  crash  of  Teutonic 
gutturals,  any  muffled  sounds  from  the  region  of 
the  aqueduct  passed  unheeded. 

The  storming  party  were  now  within  the  circuit  Exit  from 
of  the  walls  of  Neapolis,  but  they  found  themselves  duct, 
penetrating  further  than  they  wished ;  and  how 
to  emerge  into  the  city  was  as  yet  by  no  means 
apparent.  A  lofty  vaulted  roof  of  brick  was  over 
their  heads.  They  seem  to  have  been  standing 
in  what  would  have  been  a  great  reservoir  had 
the  aqueduct  been  still  flowing.  Despair  seized 
the  heart  of  those  who  bad  already  entered  the 
place,  and  the  column  of  soldiers  still  pressing 
on  from  behind  made  their  situation  each  moment 
more  perilous.  At  length  those  in  front  saw  a 
break  in  the  vaulting  above  them,  by  the  break 
the  outlines  of  a  cottage,  by  the  cottage  an  olive- 
tree.  It  was  hopeless  for  armed  soldiers  to  climb 
up  that  steep  reservoir- side  ;  but  one  brave  fellow, 
an  Isaurian  doubtless,  laid  aside  helmet  and 
shield,  and  with  hands  and  feet  scrambled  up  the 
wall.  In  the  cottage  he  found  one  old  woman 
in  a  state  of  abject  poverty.  He  threatened  her 
with  death  if  she  stirred  or  shrieked.  She  was 
mute.  He  fastened  a  strong  strap  which  he  had 
brought  with  him  to  the  stem  of  the  olive-tree. 

VOL.  IV.  F 

66      Belisarms  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 

BOOK  V.  His   comrades   grasped   the    other    end,  and    one 
^°'  ^'     by   one   all   the    six    hundred    mounted   without 
^^  ■      accident. 
The  aque-       By  this  time  the  fourth  watch  of  the  night  had 
si^aUo^  begun.     The  storming  party  rushed  to  the  north- 
rade^s.^^"""  om  ramparts,  beneath  which  they  knew  that  Beli- 
sarius  and   Bessas  would  be  stationed,  slew  two 
of  the  sentinels  who  were  taken  unawares,  and 
then  blew  a  long  blast  on  their  bugles.     At  once 
the  Byzantine  soldiers  placed  the  ladders  against 
the   walls   and   began    to    mount.      Destruction! 
The  ladders,  which  had  been  hurriedly  made  in 
the    darkness   by  the    army-carpenters,  were    too 
short,  and  did  not  reach  to  the  foot  of  the  battle- 
ments.    They  were  taken  down  again,  and  two 
of  them  were   hastily  but   securely  fastened   to- 
gether.    Now   the   soldiers'  could    mount.     They 
poured  over  the  battlements.     On  the  north  side 
at  any  rate  the  city  was  won. 

On  the  south,  between  the  sea  and  the  wall, 
the  task  of  the  assailants  was  somewhat  harder. 
There,  not  the  Goths,  but  the  Jews  kept  watch; 
the  Jews  ever  embittered  against  the  persecuting 
Government  of  Constantinople,  and  now  fighting 
with  the  courage  of  despair,  since  they  knew  that 
the  part  which  they  had  taken  in  opposing  the 
surrender  had  marked  them  out  for  vengeance. 
But  when  day  dawned,  and  they  were  attacked 
in  their  rear  by  assailants  from  the  other  part  of 
the  city,  even  the  Jews  were  obliged  to  flee,  and  the 
southern  gates  were  opened  to  the  Byzantines. 

Neapolis  sacked.  67 

The  besiegers  on  the  east  side,  where  no  serious  book  v. 

•  Ch  2 

assault   had   been  contemplated,    had   no   scaling  ' 

ladders,  and  were  obliged  to  burn  the  gates  of  the  r^^^l\^i^ 
city  before  they  could  effect  an  entrance.  By  this  *^^®"- 
time  the  whole  troop  of  semi-barbarians  called  the 
Eoman  army  was  pouring  through  the  town,  mur- 
dering, ravishing,  plundering,  binding  for  slavery, 
even  as  Belisarius  had  prophetically  described. 
The  Huns  who  were  serving  under  the  banners 
of  the  Empire,  and  who  were  no  doubt  still 
heathens,  did  not  respect  even  the  sanctity  of  the 
churches,  but  slew  those  who  had  taken  refuge 
at  the  altars. 

Then  Belisarius   collected   his  troops  together,  Belisarius 

111*1  -n  r»      1  •  exhorts  his 

probably  m  the  great  Forum  of  the  city,  and  de-  soldiers  to 
livered  a  harangue  in  which  he  besought  them  not  fui. 
to  tarnish  the  victory  which  God  had  given  them 
by  unholy  deeds.  The  Neapolitans  were  now 
no  longer  enemies,  but  fellow- subjects :  let  them 
not  sow  the  seeds  of  irreconcilable  hatred  by  a 
bloody  butchery  in  the  first  city  which  they  had 
taken.  With  these  words,  and  with  the  assurance 
that  all  the  wealth  whicli  they  could  lay  hands 
upon  should  be  theirs,  as  the  fitting  reward  of 
their  valour,  he  persuaded  the  soldiers  to  sheathe 
their  swords,  and  even  to  unbind  their  captives 
and  restore  wives  to  their  husbands,  children  to 
their  parents.  Thus,  says  the  historian,  did  the 
Neapolitans — those  at  least  of  them  who  escaped 
the  massacre — pass  in  a  few  hours  from  freedom 
to  slavery,  and  back  again  from  slavery  to  freedom, 

F  2 

68      Belzsarius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples 

BOOKV.  and  even  to  a  certain  measure  of  comfort.  For 
^^•^'  they  had  succeeded  in  burying  their  gold  and 
^^^'  all  their  most  precious  property ;  and  after  the 
storm  of  war  had  passed  they  were  able  to  re- 
cover it. 

The  Gothic  Eight  huiidrcd  Gothic  warriors  were  taken  pri- 
soners in  the  city.  Belisarius  protected  them  from 
outrage  at  the  hands  of  his  soldiery  and  kept  them 
in  honourable  captivity,  treating  them  in  all  respects 
like  soldiers  of  his  own. 

Fate  of  The  unhappy  leaders  of  the  war-party  attested 

by  their  end  the  smcerity  of  their  advice.  Pastor, 
who  was  previously  in  perfect  health,  when  he  saw 
that  the  city  was  taken,  received  so  violent  a  shock 
that  he  had  a  stroke  of  apoplexy  which  proved  im- 
mediately fatal.  Asclepiodotus  with  some  of  the 
nobles  of  the  city  presented  himself  boldly  before 

Violent  re-  Bclisarius.      Stephanus,  in  his  grief  at  the  calami- 

stephanus.  tics  which  had  befallen  his  native  city,  assailed 
with  bitter  reproaches  'that  betrayer  of  his  country, 
that  wickedest  of  men,  who  had  sold  his  city  in 
order  to  curry  favour  with  the  Goths.  Had  the 
cause  of  the  barbarians  triumphed,  Asclepiodotus 
would  have  enounced  the  patriots  as  traitors  and 
hounded  them  to  the  death.  Only  the  valour  of 
Belisarius  had  delivered  them  from  this  calamity.' 
With  some  dignity  Asclepiodotus  replied  that  the 
invective  of  Stephanus  was  really  his  highest  praise, 
since  it  showed  that  he  had  been  firm  in  his  duty 
to  those  whom  he  found  set  over  him.  Now 
that  by  the  fortune  of  war  Neapolis  had  passed 

Fate  of  the  orators  of  the  war-party,        69 

under  the  power  of  the  Emperor,  Asclepiodotus  book  v. 
would   be   found    as    faithful    a    servant    of   the  . — 1_ 
Empire    as    he    had    been    of   the    Goths,    while      ^^  * 
Stephanus    at    the    first    whisper    of    ill-fortune 
would  be  found  veering  back  again  from  his  new 
to  his  old  allegiance. 

We  are  not  told  what  part  Belisarius  took  in  Death  of 
this  quarrel.  The  populace  followed  Asclepio-  dotus. 
dotus  on  his  departure  from  the  generaFs  tent, 
assailed  him  with  reproaches  as  author  of  all  their 
miseries,  and  at  length  slew  him  and  mangled  his 
remains.  Then  seeking  the  house  of  Pastor,  they 
would  not  for  a  long  time  believe  his  slaves  who 
assured  them  of  his  death.  Satisfied  at  last  by 
the  sight  of  his  dead  body,  they  dragged  it  forth 
from  the  city  and  hung  it  ignominiously  on  a  gibbet. 
They  then  repaired  to  the  quarters  of  Belisarius, 
told  him  what  they  had  done,  and  craved  pardon 
for  the  display  of  their  righteous  indignation,  a 
pardon  which  was  readily  granted. 

So  ended  the  Byzantine  siege  of  Naples.  The 
only  remembrance  of  it  which,  in  the  changed 
circumstances  of  the  city,  a  modern  traveller  can 
obtain,  is  furnished  by  a  few  red  arches  which, 
under  the  name  of  Ponti  Eossi,  traverse  one  of 
the  roads  leading  north-eastwards  from  the  city, 
a  little  below  the  royal  palace  of  Capo  di  Monte. 
At  this  point  apparently  the  aqueduct  which  led 
into  the  city  of  Naples  branched  off  from  the 
main  line  which  held  on  its  course  westwards  to 
Puteoli   and   Baiae.     Over  these  arches  marched 

70      Belisarius  at  Carthage  and  at  Naples, 

BOOKV.  the  hardy  Isaurians  on  that  perilous  midnight 
^'  adventure  which  resulted  in  the  capture  of 
^^^'     Neapolis^ 

^  Lord  Stanhope  (Life  of  Belisarius,  p.  i8o),  following 
Muratori,  says  that  it  was  through  this  same  aqueduct  that 
Alfonso  of  Arragon  entered  the  city  in  1442.  But  this,  I  am 
informed  by  S.  Capasso,  is  an  error.  The  aqueduct  through 
which  the  Spaniards  entered  the  city  was  called  '  della  Bella.' 
It  brought  water  from  Somma  under  Mount  Vesuvius,  and 
entered  the  city  through  the  eastern,  not  the  northern  wall. 




Sources : — 

Procopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  i.  11-13.     Cassiodouus,  BOOK  v. 
Variarum,  x.  31-35.     Jordanes,  De   Reg-norum    Succes-     ^^-  ^- 
sione,  S7^~3  5    -^^  Rebus  Geticis,  309-10. 

The  failure  of  the  Gothic  King  to  avert  the      536. 
fall  of  Neapolis  exasperated  beyond  endurance  the  tion??^' 
warlike  subjects  of  Theodahad.     His  avarice  and  against 
his  ingratitude  were  known  ;  his  want  of  loyalty  to  1^^!.^  ^' 
the  nation  of  his  fathers  was  more  than  suspected. 
Rumours  of  his  negotiations  with  Constantinople, 
even  the  most  secret  and  the  most  discreditable  of 
them,  had  reached  the  ears   of  his  subjects,  and 
now   the  worst  of   those  rumours   seemed   to   be 
confirmed   by  his  desertion   of  the   defenders   of 
Neapolis,  a  desertion  so  extraordinary  that  mere 
incompetence  seemed  insufficient  to  account  for  it. 

That  which   our   ancestors  would   have   called  Assembly 

of  the  na- 

a   Folc-mote,   an  assembly   of   the  whole    Gothic  tion  under 
nation   under  arms,  was  convened,  by  what  au-Kegeta, 

Aug.,  536'. 
^  We  get  the  date  of  the  deposition  of  Theodahad  from  the 

Liber  Pontificalis  (Muratori,   iii.    129),  which    states    that   it 

occurred  two  months  after  the  election  of  Pope  Silverius. 

72  The  Elevation  of  Witigis, 

BOOKV.  thority  we  know  not,  to  deliberate  on  the  perilous 
^"•^'  condition  of  the  country.  The  place  of  meeting 
^^^'  was  forty-three  miles  ^  from  Eome.  It  has  been 
hitherto  impossible  to  discover  any  clue  to  the 
name  given  by  Procopius,  who  says  '  The  Romans 
call  the  place  Regeta  \  but  the  other  indications 
afforded  by  him  show  that  it  was  situated  in  the 
Pomptine  Marshes,  and  in  that  part  of  them  which 
the  draining  operations  of  Decius,  who  had  ap- 
parently cleared  out  the  old  DecennoviaP  Canal, 
had  restored  to  productiveness,  perhaps  even  to 
fertility  ^ 

Allusion  has  already  been  made  to  Theodoric's 
share  in  the  promotion  of  this  useful  work,  and 
to  the  palace  bearing  his  name  which  crowned  the 
heights  of  Terracina*.  If  not  that  palace  itself, 
yet  at  any  rate  the  hill  on  "which  it  stood,  rose 
conspicuously  on  the  southern  horizon  some  fifteen 
miles  from  the  Gothic  meeting-place.  The  reason 
for  choosing  this    spot   was  that,  thanks  to    the 

^  English  miles :  forty-seven  Eoman :  see  Procopius,  De 
B.  G.  i.  1 1 .  This  passage  is  very  important  for  the  informa- 
tion which  it  affords  as  to  the  length  of  Procopius'  stadium, 
which  was  evidently  272  yards,  70  yards  longer  than  the 
stadium  of  Attic  historians.  Procopius  says,  in  explaining  the 
Latin  word  Decennovium  :  UoTafios  .  .  .  iweaKaideKa  nepucbv  ar]- 
fifla,  oTTep  ^vvcKTiv  is  rpe^s  Koi  Se'fca  Koi  eKUTov  (rradiovs.  Since 
113  stadia=i9  Eoman  miles  (of  1618  yards  each)  =  305742 
yards,  it  follows  that  one  stadium=  272^^3  yards. 

''^  The  Decennovial  Canal  derived  its  name  from  the  fact  that 
it  flowed  past  nineteen  miles  of  the  Appian  Way. 

^  See  Abstract  of  the  letters  of  Cassiodorus,  ii.  32,  for  Theo- 
doric's '  concession '  to  Decius. 

*  See  vol.  iii.  p.  308. 

Armed  assembly  of  Goths.  73 

draining  operations  just  referred  to,  tlie  vast  plain  book  v. 

furnished    a    plentiful   supply    of    grass    for   the  !_1- 

horses  of  the  assembled  warriors  ^.  ^^  ' 

As  soon  as  the  nation  met  upon  the  plain    of  Deposition 
Kegeta,  it  was  clear  that  the  deposition  of  Theo-  had. 
dahad  was  inevitable,  and  that  the  only  question 
was  who  should  succeed  him.    The  line  of  the  great 
Theodoric  was  practically   extinct  (only  a  young 
girl,  the  sister  of  Athalaiic,  remained)  ;  and  in  the 
great  necessity  of  the  nation,  they  travelled  beyond 
the  circle  not  only  of  royal,  but  even  of  noble  blood, 
to  find  a  deliverer.     A  warrior  named  Witigis,  not  Election  of 
sprung  from  any  illustrious  house  ^,  but  who  had 
rendered  himself  illustrious  by  great  deeds  wrought 
against  the  Gepids  in  the  war  of  Sirmium  ^,  was 
raised  upon  the  buckler  and  acclaimed  as  king*. 

*  Scholars  seem  to  have  given  up  in  despair  the  attempt 
to  identify  Regeta.  Lord  Stanhope  suggests  Lake  Eegillus, 
which  is  absurd,  neither  the  distance  nor  any  of  the  other 
indications  furnished  by  Procopius  agreeing  therewith.  The 
neighbourhood  of  Terracina  and  of  the  Decennovian  Canal  is 
clearly  pointed  out  by  Procopius.  He  seems,  however,  not  to 
be  aware  that  the  stream  in  question  was  not  a  natural  river. 
Is  it  possible  that  Rpgeta  is  an  error  for  Regesta^  and  has  some- 
thing to  do  with  the  dykes  or  embankments  of  the  Decian 
drainage-scheme  ?  It  seems  to  me  that  the  site  should  be 
looked  for  pretty  near  Ad  Medias  (Mesa  Posta),  the  station  on 
the  Appian  Way  between  Appii  Porum  and  Terracina.  Pro- 
copius here  displays  a  little  archaeological  learning  about  the 
Homeric  island  of  Circe  in  connection  with  Terracina  and  the 
neighbouring  promontory  of  Circseum. 

"^   OvLTiyiv  (iXovTOj  avhpa  oIklos  ovk  inKpavovs  ovra. 
^  See  vol.  iii.  p.  438. 

*  The  account  given  by  Jordanes  (De  Regnorum  Successione, 
372)  makes  the  elevation  of  Witigis  more  the  result  of  his  own 

74  The  Elevation  of  Witigis. 

BOOKv.  The  pen  of  the  veteran  Cassiodorus  was  employed 
'  to  draw  up  the  document  in  which  was  announced 
^^^'  to  the  Goths  the  elevation  of  a  king,  '  not  chosen 
in  the  recesses  of  a  royal  bedchamber,  but  in  the 
expanse  of  the  boundless  Campagna ;  of  one  who 
owed  his  dignity  first  to  Divine  grace,  but  secondly 
to  the  free  judgment  of  the  people  ;  of  one  who 
knew  the  brave  men  in  his  army  by  comradeship, 
having  stood  shoulder  to  shoulder  with  them 
in  the  day  of  battle.'  His  countrymen  were 
exhorted  to  relinquish  that  attitude  of  fear  and 
mutual  suspicion  which  the  rule  of  the  craven 
Theodahad  had  only  too  naturally  produced,  and 
to  work  with  one  accord  for  the  deliverance  of 
their  nation. 

Death  of        Witisfis  decided  without  hesitation  that  the  de- 

Theoda-  ^ 

had.  throned  monarch  must  die.      He  gave  the  word  to 

a  Goth  named  Optaris  to  follow  Theodahad  and 
bring  him  back,  dead  or  alive.  Optaris  had  the 
stimulus  of  revenge  besides  that  of  obedience  to 
urge  him  to  fulfil  his  bloody  commission,  since  he 
had  lost  a  bride  rich  and  lovely,  whose  hand  had 
been  plighted  to  him,  by  Theodahad  s  venal  inter- 
ference on  behalf  of  a  rival  suitor.  Night  and 
day  he  spurred  on  his  steed.     He  came  up  with 

contrivance  and  less  the  spontaneous  act  of  the  nation  than 
that  of  Procopius.  'Vitiges  .  .  .  qui  Canipania[m]  ingressus 
mox  ad  campos  venisset  Barbaricos,  ilico  exercitus  favore,  quod 
contra  Theodahadum  suspectum  habebat  excepit.  .  .  .  Facto  im- 
petu  in  eo  consona  voce  Vitigis  [Vitigem]  regem  denuntiant. 
At  ille  regno  levatus  quod  ipse  optaverat  mox  populi  vota 
consentit,'  etc. 

Theodahad  slain,  75 

the  flying  King  before  lie  had  reached  Eavenna,  book  v. 

threw  him   to  the  ground,  and  cut  his  throat  as  ' 

a  priest  would  slay  a  sheep  for  sacrifice.  ^^  * 

So  vanishes  the  Platonist  Ostrogoth,  the  remover 
of  land-marks,  the  perjurer  and  the  coward,  from 
the  page  of  history.  It  is  not  often  that  the  his- 
torian has  to  describe  a  character  so  thoroughly 
contemptible  as  that  of  Theodahad. 

Witigis  on  his  accession  to  the  throne  found  an  Deplorable 
utter  absence  of  effective  preparation  to  meet  the  tte  Gothic 
enemy.     The  two  enemies,  we  should  rather  say,  "^°"^'^  ^' 
since  the  Franks,  in  fulfilment    of  a  secret  com- 
pact with  Justinian,  were   in   arms   against   the 
Goths,  and  a  considerable  part  of   the   army  of 
Theodahad  was  stationed  in  Provence  and  Dau- 
phine,   endeavouring  to  defend  that  part  of  the 
kingdom  against  the   sons   of   Clovis.      In  these  witigis 
circumstances    Witigis   determined    to    retire   for  to^ieav? 
a  time  to  Eavenna,  not  indeed  evacuating  Eome,    °"^^' 
since  the  gallant  veteran  Leudaris  was  to  be  left  in 
charge  of  that  city  with  4000  picked  troops,  but 
withdrawing  the  bulk  of  his  army  to  the  stronger 
capital,  and  there  at  his  leisure  preparing  for  the 
defence  of  the  kingdom.     In  a  speech  to  the  army 
he  set  forth  the  reasons  for  this  course,  the  neces- 
sity for  getting  the  Frankish  war  off  their  hands 
and  so  of  reducing  the  number  of  their  invaders, 
the  difference  between  a  withdrawal  dictated  by 
motives  of  high  policy  and  a  cowardly  flight,  and  so 
forth.     The  most  important  point  of  all,  the  eflect 
of  such  a  movement  on  the  Eoman  population,  was 

76  The  Elevation  of  Witigis. 

BOOK  V.  thus  slightly  handled  :  '  If  the  Romans  be  well 
"'  affected  towards  us,  they  will  help  to  guard  the 
^^  '  city  for  the  Goths,  and  will  not  put  Fortune  to 
the  proof,  knowing  that  we  shall  speedily  return. 
But  if  they  are  meditating  any  intrigue  against 
us,  they  will  do  us  less  harm  by  delivering  the 
city  to  the  enemy  than  by  continuing  in  secret 
conspiracy;  for  we  shall  then  know  who  are  on 
our  side,  and  shall  be  able  to  distinguish  friends 
from  foes/ 

Error  of  With  thcsc  and  similar  arguments  Witigis  per- 
'  suaded  his  countrymen  to  retire  with  the  bulk  of 
the  army  into  North  Italy.  It  is  easy  to  see  now, 
and  surely  it  should  have  been  easy  to  see  then, 
that  this  was  a  fatal  blunder.  The  Franks,  as  the 
events  of  the  next  few  months  were  to  prove,  were 
fighting  only  for  their  own  hand,  and  might  easily 
be  bought  off  by  territorial  concessions  in  Gaul. 
The  real  and  only  inevitable  enemy  was  Belisarius, 
the  daring  strategist  who  was  now  at  Neapolis,  and 
who  had  come  to  the  Italian  peninsula  to  conquer 
it,  the  whole  of  it,  for  his  master  or  to  die.  All- 
important  in  this  struggle  was  the  attitude  of  the 
Roman  population,  not  in  Rome  only,  but  over  the 
whole  of  Italy.  They  could  still  look  back  on  the 
peace  and  plenty  which  had  marked  the  just  reign 
of  Theodoric.  Though  by  no  means  welded  into 
one  nation  with  their  Gothic  guests,  there  was  not 
as  yet,  we  have  good  reason  to  believe,  any  impass- 
able chasm  between  the  two  races ;  and  if  they  could 
be  persuaded  to  cast  in  their  lot  with  the  Teutonic 

Abandonment  of  Rome.  ii 

defenders  of  their  land,  if  they  could  practise  the  book  v. 
lesson  which  they  had  been  lately  learning,  of  sub-  . 
stituting  the  name  '  Italy '  for  '  the  Empire  ; '  above  ^^  ' 
all,  if  they  could  be  induced  to  think  of  Belisarius 
and  his  troops  as  Greek  intruders  into  their  coun- 
try, the  new  Eomano-Gothic  people  and  fatherland 
might  yet  be  formed.  The  example  of  the  resist- 
ance of  Neapolis  showed  that  this  was  not  a  mere 
idle  dream.  But  all  these  hopes  would  be  blasted, 
all  the  great  work  of  Theodoric  and  Cassiodorus 
w^ould  be  unravelled,  and  tlie  Ostrogoths  would 
sink  into  the  position  of  a  mere  countryless  horde, 
themselves  invaders  of  Italy  rather  than  the  in- 
vaded, if  the  general  of  Justinian  could  once  get 
within  the  walls  of  Home,  if  the  name  of  that 
venerable  city  with  its  thirteen  centuries  of  glory 
could  once  be  his  to  conjure  with,  if  the  head  and 
the  members  being  again  joined  together  he  could 
display  himself  to  the  world  as  the  defender  of  the 
Roman  Empire,  in  Rome,  against  the  barbarians. 

The  chance,  if  chance  there  was,  of  so  defending  Departure 
the  Gothic  kingdom  was  thrown  away.     The  un-  Gothic 
wise  counsel  of  Witigis — who,  it  may  be,  could  Ravenna, 
not  believe  himself  a  king  till  he  had  actually  sat  gmlirgat-- 
in  Theodoric's  audience-chamber  at  Ravenna — pre-  Rome!'' 
vailed,   and  the  Gothic   host  marched   off  north- 
wards, leaving  only  Leudaris  and  his  4000  braves 
to  hold  the  capital   against  Belisarius.     Witigis 
took,  indeed,  some  precautions,  such  as  they  were, 
to  assure  the  fidelity  of  the  citizens.  He  harangued 
Pope    Silverius,   the    Senate,   and   the   people   of 

78  The  Elevation  of  Witigis. 

BOOKv.  Rome,  calling  to  their  remembrance  the  great 
'  benefits  which  they  had  received  from  Theodoric ; 
^^^'  he  bound  them  under  most  solemn  oaths  to  be 
faithful  to  the  Gothic  rule ;  he  took  a  large  number 
of  Senators  with  him  as  hostages  for  the  loyalty  of 
the  rest.  To  force  the  subjects  whom  he  was 
not  defending  to  swear  eternal  allegiance  to  his 
rule  was  the  work  of  a  weak  man ;  to  hint  that, 
if  they  did  not,  their  innocent  friends  should 
suffer  for  it,  was  the  threat  of  a  cruel  one.  This 
taking  of  hostages,  though  it  might  seem  for  the 
moment  an  easy  expedient  for  securing  the  fidelity 
of  an  unguarded  city,  was  essentially  a  bad  se- 
curity. If  the  bond  were  forfeited  by  the  sur- 
render of  the  city,  to  exact  the  penalty,  namely, 
the  death  of  the  chief  citizens  of  Rome,  helpless 
and  innocent,  was  to  put  an  absolutely  impassable 
barrier  of  hate  between  the  Gothic  King  and  the 
vast  majority  of  the  inhabitants  of  Italy. 

Witigis  On  his  arrival  at  Ravenna  Witigis  took  part  in 


Matasu-     a   pagfcant    which    may   have   both   amazed    and 

entha.  .  .  . 

amused  his  Gothic  subjects.  He,  the  elderly  war- 
rior, the  husband  of  a  wife  probably  of  his  own 
age,  having  divorced  that  companion  of  his  humbler 
fortunes,  proceeded  to  marry  the  young  and  bloom- 
ing Matasuentha,  sister  of  Athalaric  and  grand- 
daughter of  the  great  Theodoric.  Reasons  of  sta.te 
were  of  course  alleged  for  these  strange  nuptials. 
An  alliance  with  the  royal  house  might  cause  men 
to  forget  the  lowliness  of  the  new  King's  origin ; 
and  the  danger  of  his  finding  a  rival  to  the  crown 

Marriage  with  Matasuentha,  79 

in  Matasuentha^s  husband,  or  even  of  her  making  book  v. 

over  her  rights,  such  as  they  might  be,  to  the  ^' 

Emperor,  was  barred  by  her  becoming  the  Lady  of  ^^  ' 
the  Goths.  But  the  marriage  was  against  nature, 
and  brought  no  blessing  with  it.  The  unfortuDate 
girl,  as  weary  of  her  elderly  husband  as  Athalaric 
had  been  of  his  grey-headed  tutors,  chafed  against 
the  yoke,  and  made  no  secret  of  the  fact  that  she 
loved  not  her  consort;  and  he,  divided  between 
the  pride  of  the  low-born  adventurer  exalted  to 
a  splendid  position,  and  the  unhappiness  of  the 
husband  who  is  unloved  and  who  lives  in  an 
atmosphere  of  daily  reproaches,  lost  any  power 
which  he  may  ever  have  possessed  of  devising 
measures  for  the  deliverance  of  the  Gothic  nation 
from  its  peril  ^. 

Altogether,  the  elevation  of  Witigis  was  a  mis-  The  eie- 
take  for  the  Gothic  monarchy.  It  was  the  old  witigis  a 
and  often  repeated  error  of  supposing  that  because 
a  man  till  he  has  reached  middle  life  has  played 
a  subordinate  part  with  some  credit,  he  will  be 
able  to  rise  to  the  sudden  requirements  of  a  great 
and  difficult  position  ;  that  respectability  will  serve 
instead  of  genius.     Against  a  general,  perhaps  the 

^  All  our  accounts  agree  as  to  the  unhappiness  of  this  marriage. 
Procopius  says  (p.  6l):  M.ara(Tovv6av  .  .  .  napdevov  re  kcu  apaiav 
fjbr]   ov(Tav,   yvvaiKa  yapeTrjV   ov    ri    ideXovaiov    €7ruir)aaT0.      Jordanes 

(De  Eegnorum  Successione,  373):  'Regnoque  suo  confirmans, 
expedition  em  solvit  et  privata  conjuge  repudiata  regiam  puellam 
Mathesuentam  Theodorici  regis  neptem  sibi  plus  vi  copolat 
quam  amori,'  The  same  words  are  used  by  Marcellinus  Comes, 
from  whom  possibly  Jordanes  has  borrowed  them. 

80  The  Elevation  of  Witigis. 

EOOKV.  greatest  that  the  world  has  ever  seen  for  fertility 
"'  of  resource  and  power  of  rapid  combination,  the 
^^^'  Goths  had  given  themselves  for  a  leader  a  mere 
brave  and  honest  blunderer,  whose  notions  of 
strategy  were  like  those  which  Demosthenes  re- 
proved in  his  Athenian  countrymen,  who,  as 
unskilful  pugilists,  were  always  trying  to  parry 
a  blow  after  it  had  been  struck  and  always  being 
surprised  by  its  successor.  Yet  as,  with  all  his 
incapacity,  he  was  loyal  to  the  nation,  the  nation 
was  loyal  to  him,  and  during  the  three  following 
years  of  his  disastrous  leadership  they  never  seem 
to  have  entertained  the  thought  of  replacing  him 
by  a  better  commander  \ 

Embassy         Havino'  uow  alHcd  himself  with  the  daughter  of 

toConstan-  ^  ... 

tinopie.  the  murdered  Amalasuntha,  Witigis  sent  an  em- 
bassy to  Constantinople,  urging,  with  some  reason, 
that  the  cause  of  quarrel  between  the  Emperor  and 
the  Goths  was  at  an  end.  The  vile  Theodahad 
had  paid  the  penalty  of  his  crimes,  a  penalty 
which  Witigis  himself  had  exacted  from  him. 
The  daughter  of  Amalasuntha  sat  on  the  Gothic 
throne.  What  more  did  Justinian  require  1  Why 
should  he  not  stop  the  effusion  of  blood  and 
restore  peace  to  Italy  ?    This  letter  to  the  Emperor 

^  There  is  something  in  this  attitude  of  the  Goths  towards 
Witigis  which  reminds  one  of  the  French  confidence  in  General 
Trochu  during  the  siege  of  Paris.  But  this  comparison  is 
probably  unfair  to  Trochu.  Victory  over  the  Germans  was 
scarcely  possible  when  the  French  general  took  the  command 
in  September  1870.  Victory  over  the  Byzantines  was  abund- 
antly possible  for  the  Gothic  King  in  536. 

Correspondence  with  Justinian.  81 

was  supplemented  by  one  to  the  orthodox  bishops  book  v. 
of  Italy,  calKng  upon  them  to  pray  for  the  success      '  '  '  . 
of  the  embassy;    to  the  Prefect   of  Thessalonica,      ^^  * 
praying  him  to  speed   the   two   ambassadors   on 
their  way ;  and  to  the  Master  of  the  Offices  at 
Constantinople,  beseeching  him  to  use  his  influ- 
ence in  favour  of  peace  \ 

The  letters  relatinsr  to  this  embassy  were  pre-  Part  taken 
pared  by  Cassiodorus,  and  were  perhaps  among  dorus. 
the  latest  documents  which  proceeded  from  his 
pen.  Though  he  did  not  yet  apparently  retire 
formally  from  public  affairs,  he  seems  to  have  per- 
ceived at  this  point  that  the  dream  of  his  life 
was  a  hopeless  one,  that  fusion  between  Goth 
and  Eoman  was  impossible,  and  consequently  to 
have  retired  from  all  active  participation  in  the 
conflict  which  must  now  be  fought  out  to  the 
bitter  end,  but  in  which  nevertheless  he  could 
pray  for  the  success  of  neither  party. 

The  letters  written  in  reply  to  Witioris  have  not  Presumed 

answer  of 

been  preserved ;  but  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  Justinian. 
such  letters  were  received  by  the  Gothic  king, 
probably  in  the  late  autumn  of  536,  and  they 
must  have  been  to  the  intent  that  the  war  must 
now  proceed,  since  nothing  but  unqualified  sub- 
mission would  satisfy  the  demand  of  Justinian. 

One  of  the  first   acts  of  the  reign  of  Witigis  Gaulish 

1  pp     1  •    •  r>      1         -r-(         1        1       possessions 

was  to  buy  on  the  opposition  of  the  Franks  by  ceded  to 


^  See  Cassiodori  Variarum,  x.  32-35.     It  is  not  quite  clear 

whether  Witigis  is  addressing  his  own  or  Justinian's  Magister 

Officiorum :  but  I  think  the  latter, 

VOL.  IV.  G 

Ch.  3. 


82  The  Elevation  of  Witigis. 

BOOKV.  the  cession  of  the  Ostrogothic  possessions  in  Gaul 
(Provence  and  part  of  Dauphine)  and  by  the  pay- 
ment of  twenty  hundredweight  of  gold  (£80,000)  ^ 
Negotiations  for  this  purpose  had  been  commenced 
by  Theoclahad,  but  were  interrupted  by  his  death. 
Childebert,  Theudibert,  and  Chlotochar  now  divided 
among  them  the  treasure  and  the  towns  ceded  by 
the  Goths,  and  concluded  a  secret  alliance  with 
them,  promising  to  send  some  of  their  horde  of 
subject  nations  to  assist  in  the  defence  of  Italy. 
More  they  durst  not  do,  being  desirous  still  to 
keep  up  the  appearance  of  friendship  with  By- 

In  thus  resuming  the  pacific  policy  of  Theoda- 
had  towards  the  Franks, — a  policy  which  enabled 
him  to  recall  the  general  Marcias  and  many  thou- 
sands of  the  bravest  of  the  Goths  to  the  south 
of  the  Alps, — Witigis  seems  to  have  been  only 
recognising  an  inevitable  necessity.  His  great 
error  was  in  not  making  this  concession  earlier. 
If  he  could  thus  purchase  the  friendship  of  the 
Franks,  and  secure  his  northern  frontier  from 
their  attacks,  he  ought  to  have  done  so  at  once, 
and  thus  to  have  avoided  the  necessity  for  the 
fatal  abandonment  of  Home. 

^  In  the  wild  legend  which  figures  as  the  story  of  Amala- 
Buntha  in  the  pages  of  Gregory  of  Tours  (Hist.  Franc,  iii.  31), 
this  payment,  reduced  to  50.000  aiirei  (£30,000),  is  repre- 
sented as  the  weregild  paid  by  Theodahad  to  the  sons  of  Clovis 
for  the  murder  of  their  cousin  Amalasuntha.  It  is  possible  that 
some  such  claim  may  have  been  put  forward  by  the  Frankish 
princes,  never  at  a  loss  for  a  plausible  pretext  for  war. 




Sources : — 

Puocopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  i.  14-15. 

For  ecclesiastical  history,  Liberatus,  cap.  xxi,  and  the  BOOK  V. 
so-called  Anastasius  Bibliothecarius  in  his  life  of  Pope  ^"-  ^- 
Agapetus  (apud  Muratori,  iii.  128).  It  is  convenient  to 
use  the  name  of  this,  the  reputed  author  of  the  Lihe7' 
Po7itificaUs,  who  died  about  886.  He  seems,  however,  to 
be  really  responsible,  even  as  compiler,  only  for  some  of 
the  later  portion  of  the  book.  The  lives  of  the  several 
Popes,  at  any  rate  at  the  point  which  we  have  now 
reached,  were  probably  composed  by  various^  and  for  the 
most  part  contemporary,  biographers. 

Guides : — 

For  ecclesiastical  events^  Milman's  History  of  Latin 
Christianity  and  Bower's  History  of  the  Popes  (1750). 
This  last  book  is  far  too  bitter  and  polemical  in  its 
l^laidoyerie  against  the  Popes,  but  contains  many  useful 
references,  apparently  taken  for  the  most  part  from  Baro- 
nius  and  Pagi. 

For  the  almost  infinite  subject  of  Roman  archseology 
I  have  consulted  chiefly  the  following : — 

Canina's  Edifizi  di  Roma  Antica  (1848-1856).  Canina's 
conjectural  restorations  of  the  buildings  of  ancient  Rome, 
even  if  they  cannot  always  stand  the  test  of  detailed  criti- 
cism^  are  a  great  help  to  an  unprofessional  student. 

H.  Jordan's  Topographic  der  Stadt  Rom  im  Alterthum. 
G  2 

84  Belts  arms  in  Rome. 

BOOK  V.  His  criticism  of  the  late  imperial  and  early  mediaeval  guide- 

^'"-  ^-     books  to  Rome,  the  Curiosum  Urbis,  Mirabilia  Romae,  and 

Itinerary  of  the  Monk  of  Einsiedeln,  is  extremely  helpful, 

the  more  so  as  he  publishes  the  text  of  the   documents 

on  which  he  comments. 

Among  my  other  guides  are  J.  H.  Parker's  Archaeology 
of  Rome  and  his  splendid  collection  of  photographs,  espe- 
cially those  of  the  Walls  and  Gates;  Gregorovius's  Ge- 
schichte  der  Stadt  Rom,  vol.  i;  E.  A.  Freeman's  Historical 
and  Architectural  Sketches,  and  a  paper  by  the  same 
author  in  the  British  Quarterly  Review  (1882)  on  Rome 
during  the  Sieges  of  the  Sixth  Century ;  T.  H.  Dyer's 
article  on  Ancient  Rome  contributed  to  Smith's  Dictionary 
of  Greek  and  Roman  Geography  (requiring  modification  in 
a  few  points  owing  to  the  discoveries  of  the  last  twenty 
y(ars),  and  the  same  author's  History  of  the  City  of 
Rome  ;  Rev.  Robert  Burn's  Old  Rome  (which  contains 
all  the  chief  discoveries  down  to  1880) ;  Hemans's  Ancient 
Christianity  and  Sacred  Art  in  Italy,  and  the  last  and  very 
carefully  prepared  edition  of  Murray's  Handbook  (1881). 

I  have  also  to  thank  the  Commendatore  Lanciani,  one 
of  the  most  eminent  Roman  archaeologists,  for  some  valu- 
able information,  especially  as  to  the  Walls  of  Rome. 

Slight  in-        The  events  described  in  the  preceding  chapter 

formation  •      1     .i  n  p  tt 

as  to  the    occiipied  the  summer  and  autumn  01  536.     How 
ofBeiisa-    Belisarius  was  occupied  during  this  interval  it  is 
latter  half  not  casy  to  saj.      The  notes  of  time  given  us  by 
53  .       Procopius  in  this  part    of  his  narrative    are   in- 
distinct ;  nor  have  we  between  the  siege  of  Nea- 
polis  and   the  siege  of  Eome  any  of  those  little 
personal  touches  which  indicate  the  presence  of  an 
eye-witness.     Possibly  the  historian  was  still  at 
Carthage,  attached  to  the  staff  of  the  African  army. 
If  in  Italy,  he  was  perhaps  engaged  in  administrative 

ly  at 

Procopiits  ill  Southern  Italy.  85 

work  in  some  one  of  the  towns  of  Southern  Italy,  book  v. 
such  as  Beneventum,  of  which  he  gives  at  this  point  — '-^~- 
of  his  narrative  a  short  account  full  of  archseo-  Procopius 
logical  information.  The  name  of  the  place,  at  aSv^aT^' 
first  Maleventum,  from  the  fierce  winds  which  rage 
there  as  well  as  in  Dalmatia  ^,  but  afterwards 
changed  to  Beneventum,  to  avoid  the  ill  sound 
of  the  other  ('  for  the  Latins  call  wind  ventus 
\PevTo<s\  in  their  language') — the  traditions  of  Dio- 
med  the  founder  of  the  city — the  grinning  tusks  of 
the  Calydonian  boar  ^  slain  by  his  uncle  Meleager, 
still  preserved  down  to  the  days  of  Procopius — the 
legend  of  the  Palladium  stolen  by  Dionied  and 
Ulysses  from  the  temple  of  Athene  at  Troy  and 
handed  on  by  the  former  to  ^neas — the  doubt 
where  this  Palladium  was  then  preserved,  whether 
at  Eome  or  Constantinople^ — all  this  archaeological 

^  In  Dalmatia,  says  Procopius,  the  wind  is  often  strong 
enough  to  lift  up  a  man  and  the  horse  which  he  is  riding  and 
dashing  them  down  again  to  slay  them.  When  it  blows  in  its 
strength  all  prudent  persons  keep  indoors.  This  is  that  Bora 
of  which  mention  has  already  been  made  in  connection  with  the 
battle  of  Frigidus.  See  vol.  i.  p.  165.  A  similar  violent  wind, 
*  the  Helm  Wind,'  blows  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Cross  Fell  in 
Cumberland.  (See  Sopwith's  Account  of  the  Mining  Districts 
of  Alston  Moor,  pp.  58-63.) 

2  '  Three  palms  in  circumference.' 

^  Procopius's  account  of  the  Palladium  is  worth  transcribing 
at  length  for  its  bearing  on  the  history  of  early  Greek  and 
Asiatic  art,  especially  with  reference  to  Dr.  Schliemann's  dis- 
coveries. '  Where  the  original  statue  is,  the  Romans  say  that 
they  do  not  know,  but  they  show  a  copy  of  it  carved  in  stone 
which  even  down  to  my  time  has  remained  in  the  temple  of 
Fortune  before  the  brazen  image  of  Athene.  The  latter  is  in 
an  open  space  eastward  of  the  temple.     This  stone  statue  [the 

86  Belisarius  in  Rome. 

BooKV.  gossip  flows  from  the  Herodotean  pen  of  our  his- 
^"'  ^'     torian  with  a  fulness  which  suggests  that  to  him  the 
^^^^'      autumn  of  536  was  in  after  days  chiefly  memorable 
as  the  time  of  his  sojourn  at  Beneventum. 
Consoiida-       It   sccms    likely    that    Belisarius   devoted    the 
Emperor's  suuimcr  and  autumn  months  of  536  to  the  con- 
sourheni    solidation  of  his  conquests  in  Southern  Italy.    Cu- 
^^^^•^*        mse,  that  town  by  Lake  Avernus  of  old  Sibylline 
fame,  which  was  the  only  fortress  besides  Neapolis 
in  the  province  of  Campania,  was  occupied  by  him 
with  a  sufficient  garrison.     Calabria  and  Apulia, 
as  has  been  already   said,    offered  themselves   as 
willing    subjects  to   the   Byzantine   Emperor.     A 
hardy  and  martial  people  like  the  Goths,  holding 
the  central  Apennine   chain,    might    have   given 
Belisarius  some  trouble  by  separating  Apulia  from 
Campania   and    intercepting   the  communications 
Desertion   bctwceu  the    Hadriatic  and  Tyrrhene   seas ;    but 
this  danger  was  removed  by  the  convenient  trea- 
chery  of    Pitzas   the    Goth,    probably   the    same 
person  as  the  Pitzias  who  was  victor  in  the  war 
of  Sirmium  \      He   now  commanded  in  the  pro- 
vince   of    Samnium,  and  brought  over  with  him 

copy  of  the  Palladium]  represents  the  goddess  in  a  martial 
attitude,  raising  her  spear  as  if  for  battle  and  clad  in  a  chiton 
reaching  down  to  her  feet.  The  face  is  not  like  the  ordinary 
Greek  effigies  of  Athene,  hut  is  altogether  of  the  old  Egyptian 
type.  The  Byzantines  say  that  the  original  statue  was  buried 
by  the  Emperor  Constantine  in  the  Forum  [at  Constantinople] 
which  bears  his  name '  (De  B.  G.  i.  1 5).  Of  course  the  Byzan- 
tines' version  of  the  story  was  prompted  by  the  hope  of  eternal 
dominion  for  their  city. 
^  See  vol.  iii.  p.  438, 

Papal  History,  87 

not  only  his  personal  followers,  but  at  least  half  book  v. 
of  the  province,  to  the  allegiance  of  the  Emperor \  , 

Thus,  with  scarcely  a  stroke  struck,  had  nearly  ^^  • 
the  whole  of  that  fair  territory  which  modern  geo- 
graphy knows  as  the  Kingdom  of  the  Two  Sicilies 
been  lost  to  the  Goths  and  recovered  by  '  the  com- 
monwealth of  Rome.'  Belisarius  might  well  pause 
for  a  few  months  to  secure  these  conquests  and  to 
await  the  result  of  the  negotiations  which  Witigis, 
evidently  somewhat  half-hearted  about  his  resist- 
ance, had  opeoed  up  with  Constantinople.  Besides, 
he  had  reason  to  expect  that  he  would  soon  receive 
an  important  communication  from  the  Bishop  of 
Eome  himself;  and  before  the  winter  had  fairly 
commenced  that  communication  came.  To  under- 
stand its  full  importance  we  must  rapidly  turn 
over  a  few  pages  of  Papal  history. 

It  has  been  already  said   that,  after  the  death  Attitudes 

of  the  unfortunate  Pope  John   in  the  prison  of  Popes  to- 

Theodoric,  a  succession  of  somewhat  inconspicu-  successors 

ous  Popes  filled  the  chair  of  St.  Peter.     Neither  doric  T" 

Felix  III,  Bonifiice  II,  nor  John  II  did  anything  f^  j'u/"' 

to  recall  the  stirring  times  of  the  previous  Felix  l^p'^^^J^. 

or  of  Hormisdas  :    but   the  long  duel  with  Con-  n  ^21'^gg  ^ 

stantinople   had    ended  in  the   glorious  triumph  s^^o,  to  17 

of  Rome  ;  and  the  hard  fate  of  John  I  had  warned  '^^i'^  ^^' 

^  Jan.  533, 

the  pontiffs  that  their  time  was  not  yet  come  for  *«  27  May, 

'  Procopius  says  that  the  Goths  '  beyond  the  river  which 
passes  through  the  middle  of  the  province  refused  to  follow 
Pitzas  and  become  subject  to  the  Emperor.'  He  does  not 
specify  the  river  more  particularly.  It  was  probably  either 
the  Tifernus  {Biferno)  or  the  Sagrus  {Sangro). 

88  Belisarius  in  Rome, 

BOOK  V.  an  open  rupture  with  '  Dominus  Noster '  the  King 
^"•^-  of  the  Goths  and  Romans,  in  his  palace  by  the 
Hadriatic.  A  cordial  theological  alliance  therefore 
with  Byzantium,  and  trembling  lip-loyalty  to  Ra- 
venna, was  the  attitude  of  the  Popes  during  these 
years  of  transition.  There  were  the  customary 
disputes  and  disturbances  at  the  election  of  each 
Pontiff,  varied  by  stringent  decrees  of  the  Roman 
Senate  against  bribery,  by  attempts  on  the  part 
of  the  King's  counsellors  to  magnify  his  share  in 
the  nomination  to  the  vacant  see,  and  by  one  yet 
Attempt  stranger  attempt  on  the  part  of  Pope  Boniface 
Boniface  to  to  acquirc  the  power  of  nominating  his  successor 
vi^Husas  to  the  Pontificate — a  power  such  as  a  servile 
inssucces-  Pg^j-jig^j^gj^^  of  ^hc  sixteenth  century  conferred 
on  Henry  VIII  with  reference  to  the  English 
crown.  This  scheme,  however,  was  too  audacious 
to  succeed.  Boniface  was  forced,  probably  by 
the  pressure  of  public  opinion,  to  revoke  and  even 
to  burn  the  decree  of  nomination.  The  chief 
interest  of  this  event  for  posterity  lies  in  the 
fact  that  the  person  who  was  to  have  been  bene- 
fited by  the  decree  was  the  adroit  but  restless 
and  unprincipled  deacon  Vigilius,  of  whose  later 
intrigues  for  the  acquisition  of  the  Papal  throne, 
and  sorrows  when  he  had  obtained  the  coveted 
dignity,  we  shall  hear  abundantly  in  the  future 
course  of  this  history. 

Apparc-nt        Theologically  this  uneventful  period  has  a  con- 
divergence      .  .  . 
of  teaching  spicuous  interest  ot  its  own,  as  being  one  of  the 

Hormisdas  great  battlc-ficlds  of  the  assertors  and  impugners 

Papal  History,  89 

of  the  doctrine  of  Papal  Infallibility.     One  of  the  book  v. 
usual  childish  logomachies  of  the    East  was  im-  _L 

ported  into  Eome  by  certain  Scythian  monks,  who  ^^  "^^^^^ 
pressed,  as  a  matter  of  life  and  death,  the  ortho- 
doxy of  the  formula  '  One  of  the  Trinity  suffered 
in  the  flesh '  as  against  the  heretical  '  One  per- 
%on  of  the  Trinity  suffered  in  the  flesh/  Hor- 
misdas,  before  whom  the  matter  was  at  first  521. 
brought,  had  showed  the  usual  good  sense  of 
Eome  by  trying  simply  to  crush  out  the  unin- 
telligible and  unprofitable  discussion.  In  doing 
so,  however,  he  used  words  which  certainly  seemed 
to  convey  to  the  non-theological  mind  the  idea  that 
he  regarded  the  phrase  '  One  of  the  Trinity 
suffered  in  the  flesh '  as  heretical.  That  phrase 
a  later  Pope,  John  II,  under  some  pressure  from  533. 
Justinian  that  he  might  not  seem  to  countenance 
Nestorianism,  adopted,  as  agreeing  with  the  apo- 
stolic teaching  ;  and  it  has  consequently  ever  since 
been  considered  strictly  orthodox  to  use  it.  Here 
are  obviously  the  materials  for  a  discussion,  very 
interesting  to  theologians.  The  literature  of  the 
Hormisdas  controversy  is  already  considerable,  and 
it  is  quite  possible  that  the  last  word  has  not  yet 
been  spoken  regarding  it. 

The    successor   of    John    II,    Pope   Agapetus,  Agapetus 
during  his  short   episcopate   of   ten  months,  saw  2  Tuie, 
more  of  the  world  than  many  of  his  predecessors  Iprii.VsV 
in  much  longer  pontificates.     After  the  mission  of 
Peter  and  Eusticus  had  failed,  through  his  own 
treachery  and  vacillation,  King  Theodahad  deter- 

90  Belisariics  iri  Rome. 

BOOKV.  mined  to  make  one  more  attempt  to  assuage  the 
'  just  resentment  of  Justinian.  Knowing  the  great 
^^^'  *  influence  which  since  the  reunion  of  the  Churches 
the  Koraan  pontiff  exerted  over  the  Eastern 
Csesar,  he  decided  that  Agapetus  should  be  sent 
to  Constantinople  on  an  embassy  of  peace.  To 
overcome  the  natural  reluctance  of  a  person  of 
advanced  age,  and  in  a  position  of  such  high 
dignity,  to  act  as  his  letter-carrier  on  a  long 
and  toilsome  winter  journey,  Theodahad  sent 
a  message  to  him  and  to  the  Koman  Senate 
informing  them  that,  unless  they  succeeded  in 
making  his  peace  with  Justinian,  the  senators, 
their  wives,  their  sons,  and  their  daughters 
should  all  be  put  to  the  swords  Truly  the  in- 
stincts of  self-preservation  in  the  coward  are  cruel. 

The  Pope        Agapetus  entered  Constantinople    on  the   20th 

sent  on  an 

embassy  to  February,  536  ^,  and  was  received  with  great  de- 

Constanti-  .  p  i  i         -m 

nopie.  monstrations  of  respect  by  the  Emperor  and  the 
citizens.  In  the  fulfilment  of  Theodahad' s  com- 
mission, as  we  know,  he  met  with  no  success.  The 
Emperor  replied, — and  his  reply  is  characteristic 
of  the  huckstering  spirit  in  which  he  made  war, — 
that  after  the  great  expenses  to  which  his  treasury 
had  been  put  in  preparing  the  expedition  for  Italy 
he  could  not  now  draw  back,  leaving  its  object  un- 
attained^.      But  if  Agapetus  could  not  or  would 

■^  Liberatus,  Breviarium,  cap.  xxi. 

^  See  Clinton's  Fasti  Romani,  s.  a.  535.  It  is  admitted  that 
the  date  in  Anastasius,  '  10  Kalend.  Maii,'  is  a  mistake  for 
'  Martii.' 

^  This  characteristic  touch  is  only  in  Liberatus. 

Pope  Agapehcs  at  Constantinople,  91 

not  effect  anything  on  behalf  of  his  Gotliic  sove-  book  v. 
reign  he  effected  much  for  the  advancement  of  his  — _L 
own  and  his  successors'  dignity  ;    and  this  visit  of      ^^  ' 
his  is  a  memorable  step  in  the   progress  of  the 
Papacy  towards  an  Universal  Patriarchate.     The 
see  of  Constantinople  was  at  this  time  filled  by 
Anthimus,  recently  translated  thither  from  Trebi- 
zond  by  the  influence  of  Theodora,  and  strongly 
suspected  of  sharing  the  Eutychian  views  of  his 
patroness.      Agapetus  sternly  refused  to  recognise  Agapetus 

.  .  refuses  to 

Anthimus  as  lawful  Patriarch  of  Constantmople,  recognise 
on  the  double  ground  of  the  ecclesiastical  canon  as  Patri- 
against  translations  and  of  his  suspected  heresy,  constanti- 
Justinian  tried  the  effect,  so  powerful  on  all  others,  procureT 
of  the  thunder  of  the  imperial  voice  and  the  frown  movai".  . 
on  the  imperial  brow.     '  Either  comply  with  my 
request  or  I  will  cause  thee  to  be  carried  away 
into  banishment.'     Quite  unmoved,  the  noble  old 
man  replied  in  these  memorable  words  :  '  I  who  am 
but  a  sinner  came  with  eager  longing  to  gaze  upon 
the  most  Christian   Emperor   Justinian.     In   his 
place  I  find  a  Diocletian,  whose  threats  do  not  one 
whit  terrify   me.'     It  must   be  recorded,  for   the 
credit  of  Justinian,  that  this  bold  language  moved 
his  admiration  rather  than  his  anger.     He  allowed 
the  Bishop  of  Eome  to  question  the  Patriarch  of 
Constantinople  whether  he  admitted  the  two  natures 
in  Christ ;  and  when  the  faltering  answers  of  An- 
thimus proclaimed  him  a  secret  Monophysite,  Jus- 
tinian, who  always  assumed  in  public  the  attitude 
of  an  opponent  of  his  wife's  heresy,  at  once  drove 

92  Belisaritis  in  Rome. 

BOOKV.  him  from  the  see  and  from  the  city.     A  new  pre- 

^"•^'     late,  Mennas,   of  undoubted  Chalcedonian  ortho- 

^^^'      doxy,  was  consecrated  by  Agapetus.     Technically 

consecrates  the  Hi^hts  of  the  sce  of  Constantinople  may  have 

the  new  . 

Patriarch,  bccn    saved,    but  there   was    certamly   something 

536.       '  in  the  whole  proceedhig  which  suggested  the  idea 

that,  after  all,  the    so-called   Patriarch    of    New 

Rome  was  only  a  suffragan  bishop  in  the  presence 

of  the  successor  of  St.  Peter. 

Much  had  Agapetus  done,  and  more  w^as   he 
doing,  to   repress   the   reviving  Eutychianism    of 
the  East — encouraged  though  it  was  by  the  favour 
of  Theodora — when  death  ended  his  career.     He 
died  on  the  21st  of  April,  536  (when  Belisarius 
was  on  the  point  of  returning  from  Carthage  to 
Sicily),  and  his  body,  enclosed  in  a  leaden  coffin, 
was  brought  from   Constantinople  to  Rome  and 
buried  in  the  Basilica  of  St.  Peter. 
Siiverius         The  ucw  Popc,  Silvcrius,  is  said  to  have  been 
8  Juie,      intruded  into  the  see  by  the  mere  will  of  '  the 
Nov.  537.  tyrant  Theodahad,'  who,  moved  himself  by  a  bribe, 
brought  terror  to  bear  on  the  minds  of  the  clergy 
to  prevent  any  resistance  to  his  will.     It  is,  how- 
ever, strongly  suspected  that  this  suggestion  of 
an  election  vitiated  by  duresse  is  a  mere  after- 
thought in  order  to  excuse  the  highly  irregular 
proceedings  which,  as  we  shall  hereafter  see,  were 
^  connected  with  his  deposition  \      One  fact,  rare 

^  Liberatus  says  distinctly  that  he  was  elected  by  the  citizens 
of  Rome.  '  De  cujus  [Agapeti]  decessu  audiens  Romana  civitas, 
Silverium  snbdiaconum,  Hormisdae  quondam  papae  filium  elegit 
ordinandum '  (Breviarium,  cap.  xxii). 

Pope  Silverius.  93 

if  not  unique   in  the  history  of  the  Papacy,  dis-  book  v. 
tinguishes  the  personal  history  of  Silverius.     A        ' 
Pope  himself,  he  was  also  the  son  of  a  Pope.     He  ^^^\i^ ' 
was  the  offsprinp;,  born  in  lawful  wedlock,  of  the  ^?Pf  ^<^^" 

■»■         ^  misdas. 

sainted  and  strong  -  willed  Hormisdas,  who  of 
course  must  have  been  a  widower  when  he  en- 
tered the  service  of  the  Church.  We  fail,  how- 
ever, to  find  in  the  gentle  and  peace  -  loving 
Silverius  any  trace  of  the  adamantine  character 
of  his  dictatorial  father.  Not  of  a  noble  or  inde- 
pendent nature,  he  appears  to  be  pushed  about 
by  ruder  men  and  women,  Gothic  and  Roman, 
according  to  their  own  needs  and  caprices,  and 
is  at  last  hustled  out  of  the  way  more  ignomi- 
niously  than  any  of  his  predecessors.  Domineer- 
ing fathers  make  not  unfrequently  timorous  and 
abject  sons. 

Such,  then,  was   the    Pope    Silverius — for   we  Message 
now  return  to  contemplate  the  progress   of  the  Pope  to 

.1  1         1         •  1  .1    Belisarius, 

imperial  army — who,  having  sworn  a  solemn  oath  offering  to 
of  fealty  to  Witigis,  now,  near  the  end  of  536,1^^7!' 
sent  messengers  to  Belisarius  to  offer  the  peaceful 
surrender  of  the  city  of  Pome.  It  was  not,  how- 
ever, with  any  chivalrous  intention  of  throwing 
themselves  into  the  breach,  and  doing  battle  for 
the  commonwealth  of  Rome  that  this  invitation 
was  sent.  Silverius  and  the  citizens  had  heard, 
of  course,  full  particulars  of  the  siege  and  sack 
of  Naples,  and  wished  to  avoid  similar  calamities 
falHng  upon  them.  Weighhig  one  danger  against 
another,  they  thought  that  they  should  run  less 

94  Belisarius  in  Rome, 

BOOK  V.  risk  from  tlie  wrath  of  the  Goths  than  from  that 
^^'^'  of  the  Byzantines,  and  therefore  sent  Fidelius,  the 
^^^'  late  Quaestor  of  Athalaric,  to  invite  Belisarius  to 
Eome,  and  to  promise  that  the  City  should  be 
surrendered  to  him  without  a  struggle.  Belisarius 
gladly  accepted  the  invitation,  and  leaving  Hero- 
dian  with  a  garrison  of  300  foot-soldiers  in  charge 
of  Naples,  he  marched  by  the  Latin  Way  from 
Belisarius  Campania  to  Bome.  While  the  Via  Appia  was 
the  Via  the  great  sea-coast  road  to  Borne,  the  Via  Latina 
took  a  more  inland  course  by  the  valley  of  the 
Liris  and  along  the  base  of  the  Volscian  hills, 
a  course  in  fact  very  nearly  coinciding  with  that 
of  the  modern  railway  between  Eome  and  Naples. 
Belisarius  and  his  army  passed  therefore  through 
the  town  of  Casinum,  and  immediately  under  its 
steep  hill,  upon  the  summit  of  which  a  man  who 
was  to  attain  even  wider  fame  than  Belisarius 
had  reared,  amid  the  ruins  of  Apollo's  temple,  the 
mother-edifice  of  a  thousand  European  convents. 
It  was  Benedict  of  Nursia,  who,  little  heeding  the 
clash  of  opposing  races,  and  scarce  hearing  the 
tramp  of  invading  armies,  was  making  for  Monte 
Cassino  an  imperishable  name  in  the  history  of 
The  Gothic  When  the  Gothic  garrison  of  Bome  learned  that 
evacuate  Bclisarius  was  at  hand,  and  that  the  Eomans  were 
disposed  to  surrender  the  City,  they  came  to  the 
conclusion  that  against  such  a  general,  aided  by 
the  good-will  of  the  citizens,  they  should  never 
be  able  to  prevail,  and  that  they  would  therefore 


Belisaritis  enters  Rome.  95 

withdraw  peaceably  from  Rome.  Leuderis  alone,  book  v. 
their  brave  old  general,  refused  to  quit  the 
post  which  had  been  assigned  to  him,  but  w^as 
unable  to  command  the  obedience  of  his  sol- 
diers, or  to  recall  them  to  some  resolution  more 
worthy  of  the  Gothic  name.  They  therefore 
marched  quietly  out  by  the  Flaminian  Gate  (on 
the  site  of  the  modern  Porta  del  Popolo),  while 
Belisarius    and    his    host   entered   by   the    Porta  Entry  of 

A     •  •  1  1  nil!  •     Belisarius 

Asmaria,  that  stately  gate  flanked  by  two  semi-  into  Rome. 
circular  towers  which,  though  walled  up,  still 
stands  near  the  Porta  San  Giovanni  and  behind 
the  great  Lateran  Basilica.  Leuderis  was  quietly 
taken  prisoner,  and  sent  with  the  keys  of  the  city 
to  Justinian.  So  much  for  the  infallible  precau- 
tions which  Witigis  assured  the  Goths  he  had 
taken  against  the  surrender  of  the  city,  the 
'  numerous  men  and  highly  intelligent  officer  who 
would  never  allow  it  to  fall  into  the  hands  of 
BeKsarius  ^! 

The  entry  of  the  Byzantine  troops  into  Rome 
took  place  on  the  9th  of  December,  536^.     Thus, 

^  (From  the  speech  of  Witigis.)  "Otto)?  \iivToi  fxrjdev  ^vfi^rj- 
creraL  roiovrov,  iya>  7rpovor](T<o.  '  Avdpas  re  yap  iroWovs  kol  apxovra 
^vvcToararov  airoKdy^opev  o\  'Pco/litji/  (fivkd^at  iKavoi  eaovrat  (Procopius, 

De  B.  G.  i.  11). 

^  This  date  rests  on  the  authority  of  Evagrius,  the  eccle- 
siastical historian,  who  was  born  possibly  in  this  very  year 
536  (H.  E,  iv.  19).  The  Liber  Pontificalis  fixes  it  on  the  4th 
of  the  Ides  of  December,  the  loth  of  the  month.  The  text  of 
Procopius  seems  to  be  corrupt  :  'Pco/u?;  re  au^is-  i^rjKOura  ereaiv 
varepov  vno  prjvos  .  .  .  ^\(o.  It  is  suggested  that  vTTo  represents 
6.  a7T€..  '  the  9th  of  Apellaeus,'  that  being,  as  stated  by  Evagrius, 

96  Be  lis  arms  in  Rome. 

BOOK  V.  as  Procopius  remarks,  after  sixty  years  of  barbarian 
^'^'  domination,  was  the  city  recovered  for  the  Empire. 
^^^'  Belisarius  seems  not  to  have  taken  up  his  abode 


fixes  his     in  any  of  the  imperial  residences  on  the  Palatine 

quarters  in        ,  •  p      i         -r»  • 

the  Pin-  Hill,  where  the  representative  of  the  Byzantine 
lace.  Csesar  might  naturally  have  been  expected  to 
dwell,  but,  prescient  of  the  coming  struggle,  to 
have  at  once  fixed  his  quarters  on  the  Pincian 
Hill.  This  ridge  on  the  north  of  E>ome,  so  well 
known  by  every  visitor  to  the  modern  city,  who, 
however  short  his  stay,  is  sure  to  have  seen  the 
long  train  of  carriages  climbing  to  or  returning 
from  the  fashionable  drive,  and  who  has  probably 
stood  upon  its  height  in  order  to  obtain  the  splendid 
view  which  it  affords  of  the  dome  of  St.  Peter's,  was 
not  one  of  the  original  seven  hills  of  the  city, 
nor  formed,  strictly  speaking,  a  part  even  of 
imperial  Eome.  Known  in  earlier  times  as  the 
Collis  Hortulorum,  or  Hill  of  Gardens,  it  occupied 
too  commanding  a  position  to  be  safely  left  out- 
side the  defences,  and  had  therefore  been  included 
within  the  circuit  of  the  walls  of  Honorius,  some 
of  the  great  retaining  walls  of  the  gardens  of 
M.  Q.  Acilius  Glabrio  having  been  incorporated 
with  the  new  defences  ^    Here  then,  in  the  Domus 

the  Greek  name  of  December.  It  would  seem  more  natural  (if 
grammar  would  tolerate  this  use  of  vtto)  to  understand  Procopius 
as  saying  that  Rome  was  subject  to  the  barbarians  sixty  years 
all  but  a  month.  Had  he  some  tradition,  which  we  have  lost,  as 
to  the  precise  date  of  the  capture  of  Rome  by  Odovacar  ? 

^  I  give  this  fact  on  the  authority  of  S.  Lanciani,  who  con- 
siders this  part  of  the  wall  to  belong  to  the  Republican  age. 


Belisarius  in  the  Pincian  Palace.  97 

Pinciana  ^,  the  imperial  General  took  up  his  abode,  book  v. 

Ch   4 

Albeit  probably  somewhat  dismantled,  it  was 
doubtless  still  a  stately  and  spacious  palace,  though 
it  has  now  disappeared  and  left  no  trace  behind,  ^og^^^i^n^^^ 
It  was  admirably  adapted  for  his  purpose,  being  in 
fact  a  watch-tower  commanding  a  view  all  round 
the  northern  horizon,  from  the  Vatican  to  the  Mons 
Sacer  2.  From  this  point  a  ride  of  a  few  minutes 
on  his  swift  charger  would  bring  him  to  the  next 
great  vantage-ground,  the  Castra  Praetoria,  whose 
square  enclosure,  projecting  beyond  the  ordinary 
line  of  the  Honorian  walls,  made  a  tempting 
object  of  attack,  but  also  a  splendid  watch-tower 
for  defence,  carrying  on  the  general's  view  to 
the  Prsenestine  Gate  (Porta  Maggiore)  on  the 
south-east  of  the  city.  Thus,  from  these  two 
points,  about  a  third  of  the  whole  circuit  of  the 
walls,  and  nearly  all  of  that  part  which  was 
actually  attacked  by  the  Goths,  was  visible. 

That  the  city  would  have  to  be  defended,  and 

Its  comparatively  early  date  is  shown  by  the  large  masses  of 
O'pV'S  reticulatum  which  it  contains,  this  diamond-shaped  style  of 
brickwork  not  having  been  used  in  Rome  after  the  earliest  age 
of  the  Empire. 

^  The  Domus  Pinciana  is  mentioned  in  Cassiodori  Variarum, 
iii.  10,  where  Theodoric  orders  Festus  to  transport  the  marbles 
which  it  appears  have  been  taken  down  from  the  Pincian 
house  ('quae  de  domo  Pinciana  constat  esse  deposita')  to 

^  I  think  that  this  is  correct,  and  probably  an  under- 
statement of  the  extent  of  the  view.  But  the  groves  and 
gardens  of  the  Villas  Borghese  and  Albani  outside  the  walls 
make  it  difficult  now  to  say  exactly  how  much  was  visible  from 
the  Pincian  in  the  time  of  Belisarius. 

VOL,  IV.  EL 

98  Belisarius  in  Rome. 

BOOKV.  that   it  would  tax   all   his   powers   to  defend  it 

^^'^'     successfully,  was  a  matter  that  was  perfectly  clear 

^^^'      to  the   mind  of  Belisarius,  though  the  Romans, 

tionsfor     dwellino;   in   a   fool's    paradise    of  false   security, 

the  defence  ^  ^^  -^ ' 

of  Rome,  deemed  that  all  their  troubles  were  over  when 
the  4000  Goths  marched  forth  by  the  Flaminian 
Gate.  They  thought  that  the  war  would  inevit- 
ably be  decided  elsewhere  by  some  great  pitched 
battle.  It  seemed  to  them  obvious  that  so  skilful 
a  general  as  Belisarius  would  never  consent  to  be 
besieged  in  a  city  so  little  defended  by  nature  as 
was  the  wide  circuit  of  imperial  Kome,  nor  under- 
take the  almost  superhuman  task  of  providing  for 
the  sustenance  of  that  vast  population  in  addition 
to  his  own  army.  Such,  however,  was  the  scheme 
of  Belisarius,  who  knew  that  behind  the  walls  of 
Rome  his  little  army  could  offer  a  more  effectual 
resistance  to  the  enemy  than  in  any  pitched  battle 
on  the  Campanian  plains.  Slowly  and  sadly  the 
citizens  awoke  to  the  fact  that  their  hasty  defec- 
tion from  the  Gothic  cause  was  by  no  means  to 
relieve  them  from  the  hardships  of  a  siege.  Pos- 
sibly some  of  them,  in  the  year  of  misery  that  lay 
before  them,  even  envied  the  short  and  sharp  agony 
of  Neapolis. 

Commis-  The  commissariat  of  the  city  was  naturally  one 
of  the  chief  objects  of  the  General's  solicitude. 
From  Sicily,  still  the  granary  of  the  State,  his 
ships  had  brought  and  were  daily  bringing  large 
supplies  of  grain.  These  were  carried  into  the 
great   warehouses    Qiorrea   publico),   which    were 


Repair  of  the   Walls,  99 

tinder  the  care  of  the  Praefectus  Annonae^     At  the  book  v. 

Ch,  4. 

same  time  the  citizens,  sorely  grumbling,  were  set  — '— 
busily  to  work  to  bring  into  the  city  the  corn  and      ^^  ' 
provisions  of  all  kinds  that  were  stored   in   the 
surrounding  country. 

Side  by  side  with  this  2:reat  work  went  on  the  Repair  of 

1  •    1       -r*    T         •  P  1      •      the  walls. 

repair  of  the  walls,  which  Belisarius  found  in 
many  places  somewhat  ruinous.  Two  hundred 
and  sixty  years  had  elapsed  since  they  were 
erected  by  Aurelian  and  Probus,  one  hundred  and 
thirty  since  they  were  renewed  by  Honorius,  and 
in  the  latter  interval  they  may  have  suffered  not 
only  from  the  slow  foot  of  time,  but  from  the 
destroying  hands  of  the  soldiers  of  Alaric,  of 
Gaiseric,  and  of  Eicimer.  Theodoric's  steadv  and 
persevering  labours  had  effected  something,  but 
much  still  remained  to  be  done.  Behsarius  re- 
paired the  rents  which  still  existed,  drew  a  deep 
and  wide  fosse  round  the  outer  side  of  the  wall, 
and  supplied  what  he  considered  to  be  a  deficiency 
in  the  battlements  by  adding  a  cross-wall  to  each 
on  the  left  hand,  so  that  the  soldier  might  dispense 
with  the  use  of  a  shield,  being  guarded  against 
arrows  and  javelins  hurled  against  him  from  that 
quarter  ^ 

^  See  vol.  ii.  pp.  4*71  and  585-596. 

^  I  presume  that  this  is  the  meaning  of  Procopins :  "'^ixak^iv 

hi  eKd(TTT]v  eyyoiviov  erroUL,  OLKodofxiav  dr)  tlvo.  erepav  eK  likay'iov  tov 
fiicovvfjiov  TLOe^euos,  ottccs  ol  evdevde  toIs  iniovcn  ixa-^^o^ievoi  upos  Ta>v  iv 
dpiarepa  a(f)l7i  Tei-)(opa)(^ovvTaiv  rJKiara  ^dWcovrat  (I)e  B.  G.  i.  1 4). 
I  am  not  able  to  state  whether  any  traces  of  these  cross- 
battlements  or  of  the  Belisarian  fosse  have  been  discovered. 

H  2 

100  Belisarhis  in  Rome. 

JBOOKV.       The    walls   and  gates  of  imperial  Rome,  sub- 

^"•^'     stantially   the    same   walls   which   Belisarius   de- 

^^^'      fended,  and  many  of  the  same  gates  at  which  the 

Jr  resell  u 

aspect  of    Goths  battered,  are  still  visible;  and  few  historical 

these  walls.  ,  .       .  ^y 

monuments  surpass  them  in  interest.  No  survey 
of  them  has  yet  been  made  sufficiently  minute  to 
enable  us  to  say  with  certainty  to  what  date  each 
portion  of  them  belongs :  but  some  general  con- 
clusions may  be  safely  drawn  even  by  the  super- 
ficial observer.  Here  you  may  see  the  o^us 
reticulahim,  that  cross-hatched  brickwork  which 
marks  a  building  of  the  Julian  or  Flavian  age ; 
there  the  fine  and  regular  brickwork  of  Aurelian ; 
there  again  the  poor  debased  work  of  the  time  of 
Honorius.  A  little  further  on,  you  come  to  a  place 
where  layers  of  bricks  regularly  laid  cease  alto- 
gether. Mere  rubble-work  thrust  in  anyhow, 
blocks  of  marble,  fragments  of  columns;  such  is 
the  material  with  which  the  fatal  holes  in  the 
walls  have  been  darned  and  patched ;  and  here 
antiquaries  are  generally  disposed  to  see  the  '  tu- 
multuary' restorations  of  Belisarius  working  in 
hot  haste  to  complete  his  repairs  before  Witigis 
or  the  later  Totila  should  appear  before  the  walls. 
In  a  few  places  the  gap  in  the  brickwork  is 
supplied  by  different  and  more  massive  materials. 
Great  square  blocks  of  the  black  volcanic  stone 
called  tufa,  of  which  the  wall  of  Servius  Tullius 
was  composed,  are  the  sign  of  this  intrusive  for- 
mation. Are  these  also  due  to  the  rapid  resto- 
rations of  Belisarius,  or  was  it  part  of  the  original 

Present  aspect  of  the  Walls  of  Rome,      loi 
plan   to  make  the  now  superseded  wall    of   the  bookv 

Ch.  4. 

King  do  duty,  after  nine  centuries,  in  the  rampart 
of  the  Emperor  \  We  turn  an  angle  of  the  walls,  *■  ^  " 
and  we  see  the  mighty  arches  of  the  interlacing 
aqueducts  by  which  Rome  was  fed  with  water 
from  the  Tiburtine  and  the  Alban  hills,  with  ad- 
mirable skill  made  available  for  the  defence  of  the 
city.  We  move  onward,  we  come  to  Christian 
monograms,  to  mediaeval  inscriptions,  to  the  ar- 
morial bearings  of  Popes.  At  the  south  of  the 
city  we  look  upon  the  grand  Bastion,  which  marks 
the  restoring  hand  of  the  great  Farnese  Pope, 
Paul  III,  employing  the  genius  of  Sangallo.  We 
pass  the  great  gate  of  Ostia,  that  gate  through 
which  St.  Paul  is  believed  to  have  been  led  forth 
to  martyrdom,  and  which  now  bears  his  name. 
The  wall  runs  down  sharply  to  the  Tiber,  at  the 
foot  of  that  strange  artificial  hill  the  Monte  Tes- 
taccio  ;  for  half  a  mile  it  lines  the  left  bank  of  the 
stream ;  then  at  the  gate  of  Porto  it  reappears  on 
the  opposite  side  of  the  Tiber.  Here  it  changes  its 
character,  and  the  change  is  itself  a  compendium  of 
mediaeval  history.  The  wall  which  on  the  eastern 
shore  was  Imperial,  with  only  some  marks  of  Papal 
repair,  now  becomes  purely  Papal ;  the  turrets  give 
place  to  bastions;  Urban  VIII,  as  name-giver  to 
the  rampart,  takes  the  place  of  Aurelian^    We  see 

^  The  course  of  the  wall  of  Aurelian  is  indeed  visible  in 
many  places  in  the  Trans-tiberine  region,  but  it  is  merely  an 
archaeological  curiosity  there,  quite  eclipsed  in  importance  by 
the  Papal  fortification. 

102  Be  lis  arms  hi  Rome. 

BOOKv.  at  once  how  dear  *the  Leonine  city'  wavS  to  the 
"•  '  Pontifical  heart;  we  discern  that  St.  Peter's  and 
*'''  the  Vatican  have  taken  the  place  which  in  im- 
perial Eome  was  occupied  by  the  Palatine,  in 
Eepiiblican  Eoine  by  the  Forum,  the  Capitol,  and 
the  Temple  of  Concord. 

Contrasted      As  everywhere  in  Eome,  so  pre-eminently  in  our 

history,  circuit  of  the  wall,  the  oldest  and  the  newest  ages 
are  constantly  jostling  against  one  another.  At 
the  east  of  the  city  we  were  looking  at  the  tufa 
blocks  hewn  by  the  masons  of  Servius  Tullius. 
Now  on  the  west  we  see  the  walls  by  the  Porta 
Aurelia  showing  everywhere  the  dints  of  French 
bullets  hurled  against  them  when  Oudinot  in  1849 
crushed  out  the  little  life  of  the  Eoman  Eepublic 
of  Mazzini.  For  yet  more  recent  history  we  turn 
again  to  our  northern  starting-point,  and  there, 
almost  under  the  palace  of  Belisarius,  we  see  the 
stretch  of  absolutely  new  wall  which  marks  the 
extent  of  the  practicable  breach  through  which 
the  troops  of  Victor  Emmanuel  entered  Eome  in 
September,  1870. 

Object  of        A  first  and  even  a  second  perambulation  of  the 

Aurelian  n  p    t^  •    n 

in  building  walls  01   Eome,  especially   on   the   outside,   may 

the  walls,     i         n  •  i  i 

hardly  give  the  observer  an  adequate  conception 
of  their  original  completeness  as  a  work  of  defence. 
It  has  been  well  pointed  out  by  one  of  our  German 
authorities^  that  Aurelian's  object  in  constructing 
it  cannot  have  been  merely  to  furnish  cover  for 
the  comparatively  small  numbers  of  the  cohortes 
^  Jordan,  Topographie  der  Stadt  Rom,  i.  348. 

Gallery  inside  the  Wall,  103 

iirhanae,    the    ordinary    city-guard,    but   that    he  book  v. 

Ch.  4. 

must  have  contemplated  the  necessity  of  a  whole 
army  garrisoning  the  city  and  defending  his  work.  ^^  ' 
For  this  reason  we  have  in  Aurelian's  original  line 
of  circumvallation,  and  to  some  extent,  but  less  per- 
fectly, in  the  Honorian  restoration  of  it,  a  complete  The  inner 
gallery  or  covered  way  carried  all  round  the  inside 
of  the  wall^  Nowhere  can  this  original  idea  of 
the  wall  be  better  studied  than  on  the  south-east 
of  the  city,  in  the  portion  between  the  Amphi- 
theatrum  Cast  reuse  and  the  Porta  Asinaria,  or, 
in  ecclesiastical  language,  between  the  Church  of 
Santa  Croce  and  that  of  St.  John  Lateran.  Here, 
if  we  walk  outside,  we  see  the  kind  of  work  with 
which  the  rest  of  our  tour  of  inspection  has  already 
made  us  familiar,  that  is,  a  wall  from  50  to  60 
feet  high,  with  square  towers  some  20  feet  higher 
than  the  rest  of  the  work,  projecting  from  the 
circuit  of  the  wall  at  regular  intervals  of  33 
yards  2.     If  we   now   pass  in,  not   by  the  Porta 

^  In  the  works  erected  at  Chollerford  in  Northumberland 
(Cilurnum),  for  the  defence  of  the  bridge  over  the  North  Tyne, 
we  find  a  humbler  specimen  of  the  same  kind  of  covered 

^  Exactly  100  Roman  feet.  The  face  of  the  tower  (C  D)  is 
24  feet  long,  the  sides  (B  C,  D  E)  12  feet. 

C  D 

B  E 

Many  maps  of  modern  Rome  indicate  the  presence  of  these 
square  towers.     The  greater  or  less  regularity  of  their  occur- 

104  Belisarius  in  Rome, 

BOOKV.  Asinaria,  which  is  closed,  but  by  its  represen- 
°'  tative  the  modern  Porta  San  Giovanni,  we  find 
^^  *  ourselves  looking  upon  a  structure  greatly  re- 
sembling one  of  the  great  Eoman  aqueducts,  and 
probably  often  taken  for  such  by  travellers.  We 
can  see  of  course  the  backs  of  the  square  towers, 
but  between  every  two  of  these  there  are  seven 
tall  arches  about  33  feet  high.  A  window  through 
the  wall  near  the  bottom  of  each  of  these  cor- 
responds with  an  opening  outside  about  half-way 
up  the  face  of  the  wall,  and  thus  lets  us  see  that 
the  level  of  the  ground  inside  is  from  20  to  30 
feet  higher  than  outside,  the  apparent  height  of 
the  wall  inside  being  of  course  reduced  by  the 
same  amount.  In  the  wall  behind  the  arches  we 
can  see  the  holes  marking  the  places  where  the 
ends  of  two  sets  of  rafters,  one  above  the  other, 
have  rested.  Moreover,  the  piers  which  separate 
the  arches  are  pierced  by  another  set  of  tall  thin 
arches  at  right  angles  to  the  others.  A  glance  at 
the  accompanying  engravings  will  give  a  clearer 
idea  of  the  construction  of  the  walls  than  a  page 
of  description.  The  meaning  of  all  these  indi- 
cations evidently  is  that  a  corridor  or  covered  way 
ran  round  the  whole  inner  circuit  of  the  wall  of 
Aurelian,  where  that  was  finished  according  to  the 
design  of  the  imperial  builder.  This  gallery  was 
two  stories  high  between  the  towers;  a  third 
story  would  be  added  where  these  gave  the  needful 

rence  is  generally  a  safe  indication    of  the  better   or  worse 
preservation  of  the  original  wall. 


z   ,^ 


V  .^ 

"^  j^ 

s  \ 

I.  ^ 

The  Pilgrim  of  Einsiedeln.  105 

lieio'lit^     Besides  these  covered   galleries,  which  book  v. 

•  Ch  4 

were  used  for  the  rapid  transfer  of  troops  from  — 1_ 
one  part  of  the  circuit  to  another,  there  was  the      ^^  * 
regular   path  at  the   top  of  the  walls,   partially 
protected  by  battlements,  on  which  the  defenders 
were  doubtless  mustered  when  actual  fighting  was 
going  forward. 

For  our  knowledge  of  the  fortifications  of  the  state  of  the 

T        ,  -1        .  .   walls  in 

City  we  are  not  entirely  dependent  on  our  present  the  eighth 
observation  of  the  walls,  battered  as  they  have  been  ^he  pn- 
by  the  storms  of  the  Middle  Ages,  and  still  more  l^^ig^^ein. 
grievously  as  they  have  suffered  at  the  hands  of 
restorers  and  modernisers  in  the  last  three  cen- 
turies. The  *  Pilgrim  of  Einsiedeln,'  as  he  is  con- 
ventionally termed,  a  visitor  to  Eome  in  the  eighth 
or  ninth  century,  recorded  the  most  noteworthy 
objects  of  the  Eternal  City  in  a  MS.  which  is  pre- 
served in  the  monastery  of  Einsiedeln  in  Switzer- 
land. Among  other  information,  he  gives  us  the 
precise  number  of  the  towers,  the  battlements,  and 
the  loopholes  in  each  section  of  the  wall,  including 
even  the  sanitary  arrangements  rendered  neces- 
sary by  the  permanent  presence  of  a  large  body  of 
troops.     It  has  been  generally  supposed  that  the 

^  In  the  corridor  on  the  western  side  of  the  Porta  S.  Sebas- 
tiano,  at  the  third  tower  from  the  gate,  Mr.  Parker  discovered 
an  early  fresco  representing  the  Virgin  with  the  infant  Christ, 
which  he  believes  to  be  '  the  earliest  Madonna  that  is  known  as 
distinct  from  the  offering  of  the  Magi.'  Whether  his  inference 
that  a  chapel  was  constructed  here  for  the  soldiers  at  the  time 
of  Theodoric's  repairs  be  correct  or  not,  at  any  rate  the  exist- 
ence of  the  fresco  is  an  interesting  fact  (Archaeology  of  Rome, 
i.  i68). 

106  Belisarius  in  Rome. 

BOOKV.  Einsiedeln  Pilgrim  himself  counted  the  towers  of 
^"'^'  the  sacred  citv  of  St.  Peter ;  but  one  of  our  best 
^^^'  German  authorities  ^  suggests,  with  great  proba- 
bility, that  he  is  really  transcribing  some  much 
earlier  official  document,  possibly  that  drawn  up 
by  the  architects  of  Honorius  at  the  beginning  of 
the  fifth  century  2. 

^  Jordan,  Topographie  der  Stadt  Rom,  ii.  156,  170.  He 
suggests  'Ammon  the  geometer,'  who,  according  to  Olympio- 
dorus  (apud  Photium,  Bonn  edition,  p.  469),  'took  the  measure 
of  the  walls  of  Rome  at  the  time  when  the  Goths  made  their 
attack  upon  the  city.' 

^  The  reader  may  be  interested  in  seeing  this  technical 
description  of  that  portion  of  the  defences  which  was  chiefly 
conspicuous  in  the  Gothic  siege  of  Rome.  The  turres  and 
fenestrae  (towers  and  loopholes)  need  no  explanation :  the  j^'fo- 
pugnacula  are  the  battlements,  or,  to  speak  more  accurately, 
the  merlons  of  the  embattled  wall :  necessariae  are  believed  to 
be  equivalent  to  latrinae.  It  will  be  remembered  that  100 
Roman  feet  was  th^  regulation  distance  between  tower  and 

'A  porta  Fla-minea  cum  ipsa  porta  usque  ad  portam  Pin- 
cianam  clausam : 

Turres  xxviii,  propugnacula  dcxliiii,  necessariae  iii,  fenes- 
trae majores  forinsecus  lxxv,  minores  cxvii. 

A  porta  Pinciana  clausa  cum  ipsa  porta  usque  ad  portam 
Salariam : 

Turrs  xxii,  ppg  ccxlyi,  necess  xvii,  fenest.  major  forins  cc, 
minor  clx. 

A  porta  Salaria  cum  ipsa  porta  usque  Numentanam : 

Turr  x,  ppg  cxcviiii,   nee  11,  fen   major  forins   Lxxi,   min 


A  porta  Numentana  cum  ipsa  porta  usque  Tiburtinam : 
Turr  LVii,  ppg  dcccvi,  necess  11,  fen  major  forins  ccxiiii, 

minor  cc. 

A  porta  Tiburtina  cum  ipsa  porta  usque  ad  Praenestinam : 
Turr  xviiii,  ppg  cum  porta  Praenestina  cccii,  necess  i,  fen 

major  forins  lxxx,  minor  cviii. 

General  sicrvey  of  the  City.  ]07 

While  Belisarius  is  repairing   the    mouldering  book  v. 

walls  and  assigning  to  the  rude  cohorts  of  his  many-  . 

Ch.  4. 

nationed  army  their  various  duties  in  the  antici-  „  ^^  ; 

'J  General 

pated  siege,  we  may  allow   ourselves    to  cast   a  survey  of 
hasty  glance  over  the  city  which  he  has  set  him-  fo^e  the 

,  "  ,      ^  siege. 

self  to  defend.  A  hasty  glance,  for  this  is  not  the 
time  nor  the  place  for  minute  antiquarian  discus- 
sion ;  yet  a  glance  of  some  sad  and  earnest  in- 
terest, since  we  know  that  this  is  the  last  time 
that  Rome  in  her  glory  will  be  seen  by  mortal 
man.  The  things  which  have  befallen  her  up  to 
this  time  have  been  only  slight  and  transitory 
shocks,  which  have  left  no  lasting  dint  upon  her 
armour — Alaric's  burning  of  the  palace  of  Sallust, 
Gaiseric's  half-accomplished  spoliation  of  the  golden 
roof  of  the  temple  of  Jupiter  Capitolinus,  some 
havoc  wrought  in  the  insolence  of  their  triumph 
by  \\\Q  foederati  of  Ricimer.  More  destructive,  no 
doubt,  was  the  slow  process  of  denudation  already 
commenced  by  the  unpatriotic  hands  of  the 
Romans  themselves,  and  only  partially  checked  by 
the  decrees  of  Majorian  and  Theodoric.  Still,  as  a 
whole,  Rome  the  Golden  City,  the  City  of  Consuls 
and  Emperors,  the  City  of  Cicero's  orations,  of 
Horace's  idle  perambulations,  of  Trajan's  magnifi- 

A  porta  Praenestina  usque  ad  AsiDariam  : 

Turr  XXVI,  ppg  Dim,  nee  vi,  fenst  major  forins  CLXXX, 
minor  cl. 

A  porta  Asinaria  usque  Metroviam  : 

Turi-  XX,  ppg  cccxLii,  nee  im,  fenest  major  forins  cxxx, 
miner  clxxx.' 

(From  Jordan's  Tcpograpliie  der  Stadt  Eom,  ii.  578-9,) 

108  Belisarms  m  Rome. 

BOOK  V.  cent  constructions,  yet  stood  when  the  Gothic  war 

^'  ^'     began.      In    the    squalid,    battered,    depopulated 

^^^'      cluster  of  ruins,    over  which  twenty-eight   years 

later  sounded  the  heralds'  trumpets  proclaiming 

that  the  Gothic  war  was  ended,  it  would  have  been 

hard  for  Cicero,  Horace,  or  Trajan  to  recognise  his 

home.       Classical  Kome  we  are  looking  on  for  the 

last  time  ;  the  Rome  of  the  Middle  Ages,  the  city 

of  sacred  shrines  and   relics  and   pilgrimages,  is 

about  to  take  her  place. 

Silence  of       It  is  imposslblo  not  to  regret  that  Procopius  has 

as^toThe    allowcd  himsclf  to  say  so  little  as  to  the  impression 

duced^oi?'  made  on  him  by  Rome.     He  must  have  entered 

sight  of   ^  "the  city  soon   after   his  chief,  travelling  by  the 

Rome.       Appian  Way,  the  smooth  and  durable  construction 

of  which  moved  him  to  great  admiration  ^     But 

of  the  city  itself,  except  of  its  gates  and  walls  in  so 

far  as  these  require  description  in  order  to  illustrate 

the  siege,  he  has  very  little  to'  say.     It  is  easy  to 

*  These  are  his  words :  '  Now  the  Via  A|)pia  is  a  five  days' 
journey  for  a  good  pedestrian,  leading  from  Eome  to  Capua. 
It  is  so  broad  that  two  waggons  can  pass  one  another  along 
its  whole  course,  and  it  is  eminently  worthy  of  observation.  .  .  . 
For  all  the  stones  composing  it  being  mill-stones  and  very  hard 
by  nature  were  brought  by  Appius  from  quarries  a  long  way 
off,  there  being  none  like  them  in  the  district  itself.  Having 
made  these  stones  smooth  and  even  and  cut  them  into  polygons, 
they  fitted  them  one  into  another  without  using  brass  or  any 
other  solder.  Now  these  stones  cohere  so  perfectly  with  one 
another  that  they  look  as  if  they  had  not  been  artificially 
joined  but  had  grown  together.  Nor  has  their  smoothness  been 
impaired  by  the  daily  passage  of  horses  and  waggons  over  them 
for  so  great  a  length  of  time.  They  still  fit  as  perfectly  as  ever 
and  have  lost  nothing  of  their  original  beauty.' 

Procopiuss  first  view  of  Rome.  109 

understand  his  silence.     Most  authors  shrink  from  book  v. 
writing  about  the  obvious  and   well-known.     It      "' 
would  perhaps  be  easier  to  meet  with  ten  vivid      ^^^' 
descriptions  of  the  Island  of  Skye  than  one  of  the 
Strand  or  Cheapside.     But  not  the  less  is  it  a  loss 
for  us  that  that  quick  and  accurate  observer,  the 
Herodotus  of  the  Post-Christian  age,  has  not  re- 
corded more  of  his  impressions  of  the  streets,  the 
buildings,  and  the  people  of  Rome.     Let  us  en- 
deavour, however,  to  put  ourselves  in  his  place, 
and  to  reconstruct  the  city,  at  least  in  general 
outline,  as  he  must  have  beheld  it. 

Journeying,  as  it  is  most  probable  that  Procopius  imaginary 
did,  by  the  Appian  Way,  he  would  enter  Home  by  iwopTus 
the   gate  then  called  the   Porta  Appia,  but  now  thrdty, 
the  Porta  di  San  Sebastiano,  one  of  the  finest  of  ^°^*^ 


the  still  remaining  entrances  through  the  wall  of 
Aurelian,  with  two  noble  towers,  square  within 
and  semicircular  without,  the  upper  part  of 
which,  according  to  a  careful  English  observer  ^ 
bears  traces  of  the  restoring  hand  of  Theodoric  ^. 
Immediately  after  entering  the  city,  Procopius 
would  find  himself  passing  under  the  still-pre- 
served Arch  of  Drusus ;  and  those  of  Trajan  and 

1  Mr.  J.  H.  Parker. 

^  A  curious  inscription  on  the  left-hand  wall  inside  this  gate 
(accompanied  by  the  figure  of  an  archangel)  records  the  in- 
vasion of  gens  foresteria  on  the  last  day  but  one  before  the  feast 
of  St.  Michael,  and  their  'abolition  '  by  the  Roman  people  under 
the  command  of  Jacobus  de  Pontianis.  The  gens  foresteria 
were  the  troops  of  King  Bobert  of  Naples  co-operating  with 
the  Orsini,  in  the  year  1327. 

110  Belisarius  in  Ro7ne. 

BOOKV.  Verus,  spanning  the   intra-mural  portion   of  the 

. L_L  Appian  Way,  would  before  long  attract  his  notice. 

^^  ■  This  portion  of  the  city,  now  so  desolate  and  empty 
of  inhabitants,  was  then  probably  thickly  sown 
with  the  houses  of  the  lower  order  of  citizens. 
The  Baths  High  ou  his  left,  when  he  had  proceeded  some- 
caiia.  what  more  than  half-a-mile,  rose  the  mighty  pile 
known  to  the  ancients  as  the  Thermae  Antoninianae, 
and  to  the  moderns  as  the  Baths  of  Caracalla. 
Even  in  its  ruins  this  building  gives  to  the  spec- 
tator an  almost  overwhelming  idea  of  vastness  and 
solidity.  But  when  Procopius  first  saw  it,  the 
1600  marble  seats  for  bathers^  were  probably  all 
occupied,  the  gigantic  swimming-bath  was  filled 
with  clear  cold  water  from  the  Marcian  aqueduct, 
the  great  circular  Caldarium,  160  feet  in  diameter, 
showed  dimly  through  the  steam  the  forms  of 
hundreds  of  bathing  Romans.  Men  were  wrestling 
in  the  Palaestra  and  walking  up  and  down  in  the 
Peristyle  connected  with  the  baths.  Polished 
marble  and  deftly  wrought  mosaics  lined  the  walls 
and  covered  the  floors.  At  every  turn  one  came 
upon  some  priceless  work  of  art,  like  the  Farnese 
Bull,  the  Hercules,  the  Flora,  those  statues  the 
remnants  of  which,  dug  out  of  these  ruins  as  from 
an  unfailing  quarry,  have  immortalised  the  names 
of  Papal  Nephews  and  made  the  fortunes  of 
the  museums  of  Bourbon  Kings  ^. 

^  Olympiodorus  apud  Photium,  p.  469  (ed.  Bonn). 

^  The  first  impression  of  a  visitor  to  the  Museums  of  Sculp- 
ture at  Rome  and  Naples  is  that  every  important  work  came 
either  from  the  Baths  of  Caracalla  or  from  the  Villa  of  Hadrian. 

The  Palatine,  ill 

And  now,  as  the  traveller  moved  on,  there  rose  book  v. 
more  and  more  proudly  above  him  the  hill  which     ^^'  ^' 
has  become  for  all   later  ages  synonymous  with      536. 
regral  power  and  mamificence,  the  imperial  Pala-  ings  on  the 

,^         ^  ,  .  ^  Palatine. 

tine.  Not  as  now,  with  only  a  villa  and  a  convent 
standing  erect  upon  it,  the  rest,  grass  and  wild- 
flowers,  and  ruins  for  the  most  part  not  rising 
above  the  level  of  the  ground,  the  whole  hill  was 
crowded  with  vast  palaces,  in  which  each  successive 
dynasty  had  endeavoured  to  outshine  its  prede- 
cessor in  magnificence.  Here,  first,  rose  the  tall  but 
perhaps  somewhat  barbarous  edifice  with  which 
Severus  had  determined  to  arrest  the  attention  of 
his  fellow-provincials  from  Africa  travelling  along 
the  x\ppian  Way,  in  order  that  their  first  question 
about  Rome  might  be  answered  by  his  name.  Just 
below  it  was  the  mysterious  Septizonium,  the  work 
of  the  same  Emperor,  the  porch  of  his  palace  and 
the  counterpart  of  his  tomb,  of  whose  seven  sets 
of  columns,  rising  tier  above  tier,  three  were  yet 
remaining  only  three  centuries  ago,  when  the  re- 
morseless Sixtus  Y  transported  them  to  the 
Vatican.  Behind  the  palace  of  Severus,  on  the 
summit  of  the  Palatine,  were  visible  the  immense 
banqueting  halls  of  the  Flavian  Emperors,  Ves- 
pasian and  Domitian  ;  behind  them  again  the  more 
modest  house  of  Tiberius,  and  the  labyrinth  of 
apartments  reared  by  the  crazy  Caligula. 

In  what   condition  are  we  to   suppose  that  all  Probable 
these  imperial  dwellings  were   maintained  when  of  the 
the  troops  of  the  Eastern  Caesar  came  to  reclaim  pXces! 

112  Belisarius  in  Rome, 

BOOK  V.  them  for  tlieir  lord  ?  Certainl v  not  with  all  that  un- 

Ch  4.  . 

tarnished  magnificence  which  they  possessed  before 

^^  "  the  troubles  of  the  third  century  commenced;  hardly 
even  with  the  show  of  affluence  which  they  may 
still  have  worn  when  Constantius  visited  Rome  in 
357.  Two  centuries  had  elapsed  since  then — two 
centuries  of  more  evil  than  good  fortune — centuries 
in  which  the  struggle  for  mere  existence  had  left 
the  rulers  of  the  State  little  money  or  time  to  spare 
for  repairs  or  decorations.  But  nothing,  it  may  fairly 
be  argued,  had  yet  occurred  to  bring  these  massive 
piles  into  an  obviously  ruinous  condition.  If  the 
comparison  may  be  allowed,  these  dwelhngs  on  the 
Palatine  probably  presented  in  the  state  apart- 
ments that  dingy  appearance  of  faded  greatness 
w^hich  one  sees  in  the  country-house  of  a  noble 
family  long  resident  abroad,  but  externally  they 
had  lost  nothing  of  the  stateliness  with  which  they 
were  meant  to  impress  the  mind  of  the  beholder. 
Circus  If  Procopius  ascondcd  to  the  summit  of  the  Pala- 

Maximus.       .  pi. 

tme  he  may  perchance  have  seen  Irom  thence,  m 
the  valley  of  the  Circus  Maximus,  between  the 
Palatine  and  Aventine  hills,  a  chariot-race  ex- 
hibited by  the  General  to  keep  the  populace  in 
good-humour.  Here  the  Byzantine  official  would 
feel  himself  to  be  at  once  at  home.  Whether  he 
favoured  the  Blue  or  the  Green  faction  we  know 
not  (though  his  animosity  against  Theodora  makes 
us  inclined  to  suspect  him  of  sympathy  with  the 
Greens),  but  to  whichsoever  he  belonged  he  could 
see  his  own  faction  striving  for  victory,  and  would 

The  Colosseum,  113 

hear,  from  at  any  rate  a  large  portion  of  the  crowd,  book  v. 
the  shouts  with  which  they  hailed  the  triumph,  or 

the  groans  with  which  they  lamented  the  defeat,  of     ^^  ' 
their  favourite  colour. 

Continuing  his  journey,  the  historian  passed  -'^rch  of 
under  the  eastern  summit  of  the  Palatine,  and  tine. 
then  beneath  the  Arch  of  Constantino,  that  Arch 
which  stands  at  this  day  comparatively  undefaced, 
showing  how  the  first  Christian  emperor  purloined 
the  work  of  the  holier  heathen  Trajan  to  comme- 
morate his  own  less  worthy  victories.  Emerging  The  Coios- 
from  the  shadow  of  the  Arch  he  stood  before  the  the  Coios- 
Flavian  Amphitheatre  and  looked  up  to  the  im- 
mense Colossus  of  Nero,  that  statue  of  the  Sun-god 
120  feet  in  height,  towering  almost  as  high  as  the 
mighty  edifice  itself,  to  which  it  gave  its  best- 
known  name,  the  Colosseum.  It  is  generally  felt 
that  the  Colosseum  is  one  of  those  buildings  which 
has  gained  by  ruin.  The  topmost  story,  consisting, 
not  of  arches  like  the  three  below  it,  but  of  mere 
blank  wall-spaces  divided  by  pilasters,  must  have 
had  when  unbroken  a  somewhat  heavy  appearance ; 
while,  on  the  other  hand,  no  beholder  of  the  still 
perfect  building  could  derive  that  impression  of 
massive  strength  which  we  gain  by  looking,  through 
the  very  chasms  and  rents  in  its  outer  shell,  at  the 
gigantic  circuit  of  its  concentric  ellipses,  at  the 
massive  walls  radiating  upwards  and  outwards 
upon  which  the  seats  of  its  87,000  spectators 
rested.  Altogether  there  is  a  pathetic  majesty  in 
the  ruined  Colosseum  which  can  hardly  have  be- 

VOL.  IV.  I 

114  Be  lis  arms  in  Rome. 

BOOKV.  longed  to  it  in  its  days  of  prosperity,  and,  as  one 
^'  is  almost  inclined  to  say,  of  vulgar  self-assertion  \ 
^^^"  But  if  this  be  true  of  the  Colosseum  itself,  it  is 

not  true  of  the  surrounding  objects.  The  great 
Colossus  has  already  been  referred  to.  It  is  now 
represented  only  by  a  shapeless  and  unsightly  heap 
of  stones  which  once  formed  part  of  its  pedestal. 

Meta  The  ugly  conical  mass  of  brickwork  near  the  same 
spot,  and  known  as  the  Meta  Sudans,  was  a  beau- 
tiful upspringing  fountain  thirty  or  forty  feet  high 
when  Procopius  passed  that  way. 

The  Baths  Eastwards,  on  the  Oppian  hill,  stretched  the  long 
line  of  the  Thermae  Titi,  the  baths  reared  by  Titus 
above  the  vast  ruins  of  the  Golden  House  of  Nero. 
Immediately  in  front  of  the    Colosseum   (on  the 

Temple  of  north-wcst)    was   the    double   temple    reared   by 

Rome.  Hadrian  in  honour  of  Venus  and  Home  2,  perhaps 
one  of  the  most  beautiful  edifices  in  the  whole 
enclosure  of  the  city.  It  was  composed  of  two 
temples  placed  back  to  back.  In  one  was  the 
statue  of  Venus  the  Prosperous  (Venus  Felix), 
looking  towards  the  Colosseum,  in  the  other  Boma 
Eterna  sat  gazing  towards  her  own  Capitol.  In  the 
curvilinear  pediment  of  the   latter  was  a  frieze, 

^  This  remark  is  made  in  Burn's  Old  Rome,  p.  71. 

^  This  was  the  Temple  which  according  to  Dion  Cassius  cost 
the  architect  Apollodorus  his  life.  Hadrian  sent  him  a  draw- 
ing of  the  Temple  which  he  had  himself  designed,  expecting 
a  compliment  on  his  artistic  skill,  and  received  for  answer, 
'  You  have  made  your  goddesses  so  large  that  they  cannot 
stand  up  in  their  own  houses,'  a  criticism  in  return  for  which 
Hadrian  is  said  to  have  put  him  to  death  (Ixix.  4). 

The  Forttm,  lis 

according  to  the   opinion  of  some   archaeologists  book  v. 
representing  Mars  caressing  Ehea  Sylvia,  and  the      ^' 
wolf  suckling  their  heroic  offspring.     Around  the      ^^ 
whole  structure  ran  a  low  colonnade  containing 
four  hundred  pillars. 

The   famous  Sacred  Way,  where   once   Horace  The  via 

1    •  1  n  11  Sacra. 

loitered,  a  well-marked  street,  not  as  now  a  mere 
track  through  the  midst  of  desolation,  led  the 
historian  up  to  the  marble  arch  of  Titus.    Here  he  ^^h  of 

■*■  Titus. 

doubtless  looked,  as  we  may  yet  look,  upon  the 
representation  of  the  seven-branched  candlestick 
and  the  other  spoils  of  Jerusalem,  the  strange  story 
of  whose  wanderings  he  has  himself  recorded  for 
us  in  his  history  of  the  Vandalic  War  ^. 

Descending   the   slope   of  the   Via    Sacra,  and  Basilica  of 

^       ^  ,  ,  Constan- 

having  on  his  right  the  lofty  Basilica  of  Constan-  tine. 
tine,  whose  gigantic  arches  (long  but  erroneously 
called  the  Temple  of  Peace)  stand  on  their  hill 
over  against  the  Palatine,  and  seem  to  assert  a 
predominance  over  its  yet  remaining  ruins,  Pro- 
copius  now  with  each  downward  step  saw  the 
glories  of  the  Roman  Forum  more  fully  revealed. 
On  his  left,  the  temple  of  the  Great  Twin  Brethren,  Forum  Ro- 


three  of  whose  graceful  Corinthian  columns  still 
survive,  a  well-known  object  to  all  visitors  to  the 
Forum.  Hard  by,  the  fountain  from  which  the 
celestial  horsemen  gave  their  horses  to  drink  after 
the  battle  of  Lake  Regillus.  Further  on,  the  long 
colonnades  of  the  Basilica  of  Julius,  four  law- 
courts  under  the  same  roof.  On  his  right,  the  tall 
^  ii.  9.  (See  vol.  ii.  p.  286,  and  vol.  iii.  p.  694.) 
I  2 

116  Belisarhis  in  Rome. 

BOOK  V.  columns  of  the  Temple  of  Antoninus  and  Faustina, 
'  perhaps  already  supporting  the  roof  of  a  Christian 
^^  ■  shrine,  though  not  the  unsightly  edifice  which  at 
present  clings  to  and  defaces  them  ;  the  chapel  of 
the  great  Julius,  the  magnificent  Basilica  of  ^mi- 
lius ;  and,  lastly,  those  two  venerable  objects, 
centres  for  so  many  ages  of  all  the  political  life  of 
Eome,  the  Senate-house  and  the  Eostra.  The 
Senate  was  still  a  living  body,  though  its  limbs 
had  long  been  shaken  by  the  palsies  of  a  timid  old 
age ;  but  the  days  when  impassioned  orators 
thundered  to  the  Eoman  people  from  the  lofty 
Rostra  had  long  passed  away.  Yet  we  may  be 
permitted  to  conjecture  that  Procopius,  with  that 
awe-struck  admiration  which  he  had  for  *  the 
Eomans  of  old  time,'  gazed  upon  those  weather- 
worn trophies  of  the  sea  and  mused  on  the  strange 
contradictoriness  of  Fate,  which  had  used  all  the 
harangues  of  those  impetuous  orators  as  instru- 
ments to  fashion  the  serene  and  silent  despotism 
of  Justinian. 

Oapitoiine       At  the  cud  of  the  Forum,  with  an  embarrassment 

Hill  and  1   1  1  •   1  .        ,      .  . 

buildings  of  wcaltli  which  pcrplexcs  us  even  m  their  rums, 
of  it.  rise  the  Arch  of  Septimius  Severus,  the  Temple 
of  Concord,  the  Temple  of  Vespasian,  the  ill- 
restored  Temple  of  Saturn.  Between  them  pene- 
trated the  Clivus  Capitolinus,  up  which  once  slowly 
mounted  the  car  of  many  a  triumphing  general. 
Behind  all  stretched  the  magnificent  background 
of  the  Capitoline  Hill,  on  the  left-hand  summit 
of  which  stood  the  superb  mass  of  the  Temple  of 

The  For  a  of  the  Ccesars.  \\1 

Jupiter  Capitolinus,  robbed  by   Gaiseric  of  half  book  v 

Ch.  4. 


its  golden  tiles,  but  still  resplendent  under  the 
western  sun.  Then  came  the  saddle-shaped  de- 
pression faced  by  the  long  Tabularium  :  and  then 
the  right-hand  summit  of  the  Capitoline,  crowned 
by  the  Temple  of  Juno  Monetae 

We  have  supposed  our   historian  to  deviate  a  Tiie  impe- 

.  rial  Fora. 

little  from  the  straight  path  m  order  to  explore 
to  the  uttermost  the  buildings  of  the  Eepublican 
Forum ;  but  as  his  business  lies  at  the  northern 
extremity  of  the  city,  he  must  retrace  a  few  of 
his  steps  and  avail  himself  of  the  line  of  com- 
munication between  the  Via  Sacra  and  the  Via 
Flaminia  which  was  opened  up  by  the  beneficent 
despotism  of  the  Emperors.  That  is  to  say,  he  must 
leave  the  Forum  of  the  Eepublic  and  traverse  the 
long  line  of  the  spacious  and  well-planned  Fora 
of  the  Caesars.  In  no  part  is  the  contrast  be- 
tween ancient  and  modern  Rome  more  humiliating 
than  here.  In  our  day,  a  complex  of  mean  and  ir- 
regular streets  ^,  almost  entirely  destitute  of  classical 
interest  or  mediaeval  picturesqueness,  fills  up  the 
interval  between  the  Capitoline  and  the  Quirinal 
hills.  The  deeply  cut  entablature  of  the  Temple 
of  Minerva  resting  upon  the  two  half-buried 
'Colonnacce'   in  front   of  the   baker's   shop,  the 

^  A  long  and  bitter  controversy  appears  to  be  at  length 
put  to  rest  by  the  attribution  of  the  Temple  of  Jupiter 
Capitolinus  to  the  height  now  occupied  by  the  Palazzo  Caffa- 
relli,  and  by  placing  the  Arx  where  now  stands  the  Church  of 
Ara  Coeli. 

^  Via  Bonella,  Via  Alessandrina,  and  so  forth. 

118  Belisarius  in  Rome. 

BOOKV.  three  pillars  of  the  Temple  of  Mars  Ultor,  the 
^^'  ^'  great  feudal  fortress  of  the  Tor  de'  Conti,  and  that 
536.  niost  precious  historical  monument  the  Column 
of  Trajan,  alone  redeem  this  region  from  utter 
wearisomeness.  But  this  space,  now  so  crowded 
and  so  irregular,  was  once  the  finest  bit  of  archi- 
tectural landscape-gardening  in  Eome.  The  Forum 
of  Vespasian,  the  Forum  of  Nerva,  the  Forum  of 
Augustus,  the  Forum  of  Julius,  the  Forum  of 
Trajan,  a  series  of  magnificent  squares  and  arcades, 
opening  one  into  the  other,  occupying  a  space 
some  600  yards  long  by  100  wide  and  ter- 
minating in  the  mighty  granite  pillars  of  the 
Temple  of  Trajan,  produced  on  the  mind  of  the 
beholder  the  same  kind  of  effect,  but  on  a  far 
grander  scale,  which  is  wrought  by  Trafalgar 
Square  in  London  or  the  Place  de  la  Concorde  in 
Paris.  Let  not  the  modern  traveller,  who,  passing 
from  the  Corso  to  the  Colosseum,  is  accosted  by 
his  driver  with  the  glibly  uttered  words  '  Foro 
Trajano,'  suppose  that  the  little  oblong  space,  with 
a  few  pillar-bases  which  he  beholds  at  the  foot  of 
the  memorable  Column,  is  indeed  even  in  ruin  the 
entire  Forum  of  the  greatest  of  the  Emperors. 
The  column  is  Trajan's  column  doubtless,  though 

'Apostolic  statues  climb 
The  imperial  urn  whose  ashes  slept  sublime 
Buried  in  air,  the  deep  blue  sky  of  Rome, 
And  looking  to  the  stars.' 

The  Forum  But  the  so-called  *Foro  Trajano'  is  only  a  small 
transverse  section  of  one  member  of  the  Trajanic 

The  Libraries  of  Trajan.  119 

series,  the  Basilica  Ulpia.     The  column,  as  is  well  book  v. 

Ch.  4. 


known,  measured  the  height  of  earth  which  had 
to  be  dug  away  from  a  spur  of  the  Capitoline  hill 
in  order  to  form  the  Forum.  Between  it  and  the 
Basilica  Ulpia  rose  the  two  celebrated  libraries 
of  Greek  and  Latin  authors,  and  between  these 
two  buildings  stood  once,  and  probably  yet  stood 
in  the  days  of  Procopius,  that  '  everlasting  statue ' 
of  brass  which  by  the  Senate's  orders  was  erected 
in  honour  of  Sidonius,  Poet-laureate  and  son-in- 
law  of  an  Emperor  ^  In  those  Libraries  Procopius,  The  Li- 
in  the  intervals  of  the  business  and  peril  of  the 
siege,  may  often  have  wandered  in  order  to  in- 
crease his  acquaintance  with  the  doings  of  '  the 
Eomans  of  old.'  What  treasures  of  knowledge,  now 
for  ever  lost  to  the  world,  were  still  enshrined  in 
those  apartments  !  There  all  the  rays  of  classical 
Art  and  Science  were  gathered  into  a  focus.  More 
important  perhaps  for  us,  all  that  the  Greeks  and 
Romans  knew  (and  it  was  not  a  little,  though 
carelessly  recorded)  concerning  the  Oriental  civi- 
lisation which  preceded  theirs,  and  concerning  the 
Teutonic  barbarism  which  encompassed  it,  was 
still  contained  in  those  magnificent  literary  col- 
lections. There  was  the  Chaldsean  history  of 
Berosus,  there  were  the  authentic  Egyptian  king- 
lists  of  Manetho,  there  was  Livy's  story  of  the 
last  days  of  the  Republic  and  the  first  days  of  the 
Empire,  there  was  Tacitus's  full  history  of  the 
conquest  of  Britain,  all  that  Ammianus  could  tell 
^  See  vol.  ii.  p.  390. 

120  Be  it  sarins  in  Rome. 

BOOKV.  about  the  troubles  of  the  third  century  and  the 
^'  conversion  of  Constantine,  all  that  Cassiodorus  had 
^^^'  written  about  the  royal  Amals  and  the  dim  original 
of  the  Goths.  All  this  perished,  apparently  in 
those  twenty  years  of  desolating  war  which  now 
lie  before  us.  It  may  be  doubted  whether  for  us 
the  loss  of  the  Bibliothecae  Ulpiae  is  not  even 
more  to  be  regretted  than  that  of  the  Library  of 
Alexandria  \ 

Emperor        Ammiauus   tells  us-    that   when   the    Emperor 

Constan-  ^  ^  ■*■  ^ 

tius  on  the  Constantius  visited  Eome  he  gazed   with   admi- 

Forum  of 

Trajan,      ratiou  ou  tlic  Capitol,  the  Colosseum,  the  Pantheon, 


and  the  Theatre  of  Pompey,  but  still  with  admi- 
ration which  could  express  itself  in  words.  'But 
when/  says  the  historian,  *he  came  to  the  Forum 
of  Trajan,  that  structure  unique  in  all  the  world, 
and,  as  I  cannot  but  think;  marvellous  in  the  eyes 
of  the  Divinity  himself,  he  beheld  with  silent 
amazement  those  gigantic  interlacings  of  stones 
which  it  is  past  the  power  of  speech  to  describe, 
and  which   no    mortal    must   in   future    hope    to 

^  The  words  of  Vopiscus  (Vita  Probi,  II),  '  Usus  sum  prae- 
cipue  libris  ex  Bibliotheca  Ulpia,  aetate  mea  thermis  Diocle- 
tianis/  have  been  interpreted  as  meaning  that  all  the  contents 
of  Trajan's  libraries  had  been  transported  to  the  Baths  of 
Diocletian.  I  think,  however,  we  may  fairly  infer  from  Sido- 
nius's  verses  about  his  statue, 

'  Inter  auctores  utriusque  fixam 

either  that  this  removal  had  been  only  partial,  or  that  at  some 
time  between  300  and  450  the  books  had  been  brought  back  to 
their  original  home. 
^  xvi.  10.  15. 

The  Forum  of  Trajan.  121 

imitate.     Hopeless  of  ever  attempting  any  such  book  v. 
work  himself,  he  would  only  look  at  the  horse  of      ^' 
Trajan,  placed   in   the  middle   of  the   vestibule^      ^^*^- 
and  bearing  the  statue  of  the  Emperor.     *'  That/' 
said    Constantius,   "I    can   imitate,    and   I    will." 
Hormisdas,   a   royal    refugee    from    the    court    of 
Persia,    replied,   with    his    nation's   quickness    of 
repartee,  ''  But    first,   0  Emperor,  if  you  can  do 
so,    order   a   stable   to   be    built  as   fair   as  that 
before  us,  that  your  horse  may  have  as  fine  an 
exercising  ground  as  the  one  we  are  now  look- 
ing upon.'" 

Emerging  from  the  imperial  Fora,  Procopius  via  Lata. 
would  now  enter  upon  the  Via  Lata,  broad  as  its 
name  denotes,  one  of  the  longest  streets,  if  not  the 
longest,  in  Rome,  and  very  nearly  corresponding  to 
the  modern  Corso.  The  Subura,  which  lay  a  little 
to  the  east  of  the  Forum  of  Augustus,  was  once 
at  any  rate  one  of  the  most  thickly  peopled  dis- 
tricts of  Rome,  and  we  shall  perhaps  not  be  wrong 
in  assuming  that  in  the  regions  east  of  the  Via 
Lata,  upon  the  Quirinal,  Viminal,  and  Esquiline 
Hills,  where  the  tall  buildings  of  the  Fourth 
Rome,  the  Rome  of  Victor  Emmanuel  and  United 
Italy,  are  now  arising,  the  humbler  classes  of  the 
Second  or  Imperial  Rome  had  chiefly  fixed  their 

On  the  left  side  of  the  Via  Lata,  where  the 
Third  or  Papal  Rome  has  spun  its  web  of  streets 
thickest,   all  or  nearly  all  was  yet  given   up   to 

^  Atrium. 

122  Belisarius  in  Rome, 

BOOKV.  pleasure.  This  was  the  true  West  End  of  Kome, 
^"'  ^'  the  region  in  which  her  parks  and  theatres  were 
Campus  chiefly  placed.  Here  were  the  great  open  spaces 
Martius,  ^£  ^^  Campus  Martius  and  Campus  Flaminius  ; 
andthea-   \^xQ   two   racc-courses,    those    of  Flaminius    and 

tres  west  ' 

of  the  Via  Domitiau ;  here  the  great  theatres  of  Pompey,  of 
Balbus,  and  of  Marcellus,  and  the  Porticoes  of  the 
Argonauts  and  of  Octavia.  Altogether  it  was  a 
region  devoted  to  pleasure  and  idleness  by  the  side 
of  the  tawny  Tiber,  and  most  unlike  the  closely- 
built  and  somewhat  dingy  quarters  of  the  city 
which  now  occupy  it. 

Pantheon.  As  Procopius  movcd  aloug  the  straight  course 
of  the  Via  Lata  his  eye  would  probably  be  caught 
by  the  airy  dome  of  the  Pantheon  of  Agrippa, 
hovering  over  the  buildings  on  his  left\  He 
would  thread  the  Arch  of  Claudius,  would  stand 
at  the  foot  of  the  Column  of  Marcus  Aurelius, 
and  then  pass  beneath  that  Emperor's  Arch  of 
Triumph.      Two   mighty   sepulchres    would   then 

Tomb  of  arrest  his  attention  :  the  Tomb  of  Hadrian  ^  seem- 
ing  by  its   massive  bulk   almost   close  at   hand, 

Mauso-      though  on  the  other  bank  of  the  Tiber ;    and  the 

Augustus.  Mausoleum  of  Augustus  rising  immediately  on  his 
left,  a  rotunda  of  white  marble  below,  a  green  and 
shady  pleasaunce  above,  recalling,  by  its  wonderful 
admixture  of  Nature  and  Art,  the  far-famed  Hang- 
ing Gardens  of  Babylon. 

^  '  Pantheum   velut   regionem   teretem    speciosa  celsitudine 
fornicatam'  (Ammianus,  xvi.  lo.  14). 
2  Now  the  Castle  of  S.  Angelo. 

Procopius  at  the  Pincian  Palace.  123 

And  now  at  length  Lis  never-to-be-forgotten  book  v. 
first  view  of  Eome  was  drawing  to  a  close.  The  "' 
soon-sinking  sun  of  late  autumn  warned  him,  ^^^' 
perchance,  to  quicken  his  pace.  He  bore  off  to 
the  right:  bj  some  steep  steps  where  the  receivers 
of  the  public  alimony^  were  wont  to  cluster,  he 
climbed  the  high  garden-decked  Pincian.  He 
entered  the  palace,  bowed  low  before  Belisarius, 
lower  yet  before  the  imperious  Antonina,  and 
received  the  General's  orders  as  to  the  share  of 
work  that  he  was  to  undertake  in  connection 
with  the  provisionment  of  the  city.  Such  is  an 
account,  imaginary  indeed,  but  not  improbable, 
of  the  circumstances  in  which  the  soldier-secretary 
first  entered  and  first  beheld  Eome  reunited  to  the 
Eoman  Empire. 

It  remains  for  us  briefly  to  notice  the  rising  christian 
importance  of  the  Christian  buildings  of  Eome,  of  Rome! 
though  we  will  here  dispense  with  the  imaginary 
companionship  of  Procopius,  whose  somewhat 
sceptical  temper,  'well  acquainted  with  the  subjects 
in  dispute  among  Christians,  but  determined  to 
say  as  little  as  possible  about  them,  holding  it 
to  be  proof  of  a  madman's  folly  to  enquire  into 
the  nature  of  God^,'  would  make  him  an  un- 
congenial guest  at  the  sacred  shrines.  Of  the  five 
great  patriarchal  churches  of  Eome,  three  were 
beyond  the  walls  of  the  city,  and  one  was  on 
its  extreme  verge.  The  last,  and  at  the  period 
that  we  have  now  reached  still  the  foremost 
*  Panis  gradilis.  ^  De  Bello  Gotthico,  i.  3. 

124  Be  lis  arms  in  Rome, 

BOOKV.  in  dignity,  is  St.  John  Lateran,  or  the  Basilica 
"'  of  Constantino,  the  so-called  Mother-Church  of 
Mca  of  Christendom,  '  Omnium  Urbis  et  Orbis  Ecclesiarum 


St.  John 

tine:         Caput/     It  stauds  near  the  Asinarian  Gate,  on 

Lateran  ^^^^  property  wliich  Fausta,  the  unhappy  wife  of 
Constantino,  inherited  from  her  father  Maximian, 
and  which  had  once  belonged  to  the  senatorial 
family  of  the  Laterani ;  and  it  formed  the  subject 
of  that  real  and  considerable  donation  of  the  first 
Christian  Emperor  to  the  Bishops  of  Eome  which 
later  ages  distorted  into  a  quasi-feudal  investiture 
of  the  Imperial  City. 

Vatican         Upou   the  Vaticau  Hill,  outside   the  walls  of 

St.  Peter's,  Auroliau,  looking  down  upon  the  Tiber  and  the 
Tomb  of  Hadrian,  rose  the  five  long  aisles,  the 
semicircular  apse,  and  the  nearly  square  entrance- 
Atrium  of  the  Basilica  of  St.  Peter.  The  region 
immediately  surrounding  it  was  perhaps  still  called 
the  Gardens  of  Nero.  It  is  certain  that  the  reason 
for  placing  the  Basilica  on  that  spot  was  that  there 
was  the  traditional  site  of  the  martyrdom  of  the 
Apostle,  as  well  as  of  the  sufferings  of  the  name- 
less Christian  crowd  who,  dressed  in  cloaks  covered 
with  pitch  and  set  on  fire,  served  as  living  torches 
to  light  that  throned  Satan  to  his  revels  and  his 
chariot-races  on  the  Vatican-mount. 

St.  Paul's.  Outside  the  gate  of  Ostia,  and  also  near  the 
traditional  scene  of  the  martyrdom  of  the  Apostle 
to  whom  it  was  dedicated,  stood  the  noble  Basi- 
lica of  St.  Paul.  This  edifice,  commenced  by 
Theodosius,  completed  by  Honorius,  and  having 

The  Chris iian  Basilicas.  125 

received  the  finislilno;  toiiclies  to  its  decorations  book  v. 

Ch.  4. 

at  the  hand  of  Placidia  under  the  guidance  of 
Pope  Leo\  subsisted  with  but  little  change  to  ^^  ' 
the  days  of  our  fathers.  The  lamentable  fire  of 
1823,  by  which  the  greater  part  of  it  was  de- 
stroyed, took  from  us  the  most  interesting  relic 
of  Christian  Imperial  Eome.  Happily  the  restor- 
ation, though  it  cannot  give  us  back  the  undimi- 
nished interest  of  the  earlier  building,  has  been 
carried  on  with  admirable  fidelity  to  the  original 

This  cannot  be  said  of  the  Liberian  Basilica,  the  Libenan 
great  church  now  known  as   S.  Maria  Maggiore,  sta.  Maria 
which,  standing  high  on  the  Esquiline  Hill,  looked  ^  '^^^^^^^' 
down   westwards    on   the   crowded    Subura,    and 
northwards   towards  the   palatial   Baths   of  Dio- 
cletian.    The  outside  of  the  building  has  sustained 
the  extremity  of  insult  and  wrong  at  the  hands 
of  the  tasteless  pseudo-classical  restorers  of  the 
eighteenth  century ;    and  the  inside,  though  not 
absolutely  ruined  by  them,  though  its  mosaics  are 
still  visible  and  much  of  its  long  colonnade  still 
remains,  shows  too  plainly  how  unsafe  were  the 
treasures  of  Christian  antiquity  in  the  hands  of 
the  conceited  architects  of  the  Eenaissance. 

The  last  of  the   great   Basilicas,  that   of  the  st.  Law- 
martyred  S.  Lawrence,  one  mile  outside  the  Tibur- 
tine  Gate,  has  suffered  less  ravage  at  the  hands 

^  'Placidiae  pia  mens  operis  decus  /iomne  (sic)  paterni 
Gaudet  pontificis  studio  splendere  Leonis.' 

(Inscription  over  the  arch  in  S.  Paolo  fuori  le  Mura.) 

126  Belisarhcs  in  Rome, 

BOOKV.  of  restorers.  It  was  in  the  thirteenth  century 
^'  singularly  re-arranged  and  transformed,  its  apse 
^^^'  being  pulled  down  and  turned  into  a  nave,  and 
its  original  vestibule  being  turned  into  a  choir ^ : 
still  w^e  have  substantially  before  us  the  same 
church  which  was  surrounded  by  the  Gothic  armies 
in  their  siege  of  Rome.  With  that  blending  of 
the  old  and  of  the  very  new  which  at  once  charms 
and  bewilders  the  visitor  to  Rome,  we  have  here 
again  an  inscription  recording  the  work  of  'the 
pious  mind  of  Placidia '  under  the  guidance  of 
Attila's  Pope  Leo,  and  in  the  crypt  the  just 
erected  tomb  of  Pio  Nono.  The  latter  is  so  placed 
as  to  command  a  view  of  the  slab  of  marble  dyed 
red  with  the  blood  of  the  deacon  Laurentius, 
martyr  for  the  faith  under  the  Emperor  Claudius 
Gothicus.  This  marble  slab  was  a  favourite  relic 
with  the  late  Pontiff. 

The  parish       Besidcs    thcsc   fivc  great  patriarchal   churches 

churches,  ,  7 

orTituii.  there  were  twenty-eight  parish  churches,  known 
by  the  technical  name  of  Tituli,  from  which  the 
Cardinal-presbyters  of  a  later  age  took  their  eccle- 
siastical designations  ^.  Some  of  these  which  have 
been  preserved  to  this  day  are  more  interesting 
than  the  churches  of  greater  dignity,  having  by 
reason  of  their  comparative  insignificance  escaped 
the  hand  of  the  Renaissance  destroyer  ^. 

^  See  Freeman's  Historical  and  Architectural  Sketches,  213- 
215,  for  an  account  of  these  transformations. 

^  See  a  very  complete  list  of  the  Tituli  in  Gregorovius, 
i.  251-259. 

^  Such  are  Santa  Prassede,  San  Clemente,  and  Santa  Agnese. 

The  Christian  Basilicas.  127 

The  main  features,  which  were  evidently  com-  book  v. 
mon  to  all  the  Christian  edifices  of  Kome  in  the  ' 

fifth  and  sixth  centuries,  were  (i)  a  long  line  of     /^^" 
columns,  not  by  any  means  always  uniform  or  of  turesofthe 
the  same  order  of  architecture,  and  generally  taken  cai  archi- 
from  the  outside  of  some  heathen  temple;  (2)  athefiftii^ 
semicircular  apse  at  the  eastern  end,  in  which  the  centuries' 
bishop  or  presbyter  sat  surrounded  by  his  inferior 
clergy,  as  the  Koman  magistrate  in  the  original 
Basilica  sat  surrounded  by  the  various  members  of 
his  *  officium  ;'  (3)  an  arch  in  front  of  the  apse,  the 
idea  of  which  was  probably  borrowed  from  the 
triumphal  arches  of  the  Emperors ;    (4)  upon  the 
arch,  upon  the  apse,  on  the  flat  wall-space  above 
the  arches,  in  fact  wherever  they  could  conveni- 
ently be  introduced,   a  blaze  of  bright  mosaics, 
like  those  still  preserved  to  us  at  Kavenna  and 
in    a   very  few  of  these  Koman   churches.     The 
subjects  represented  are  the  Saviour,  the  symbols 
of    the    four    Evangelists,    the    twelve    Apostles 
under  the  guise  of  sheep,  the  mystic  cities  Jeru- 
salem  and   Bethlehem,  the  Jordan  and  the  four 
rivers  of  Paradise,  and  other  emblems  of  the  same 

The  fact  that  the  columns  of  these  churches 
were  as  a  rule  taken  from  heathen  temples  must 
of  course  qualify  to  some  extent  the  statement 
that  the  splendour  of  the  city  was  undiminished 
when  Procopius  entered  it.  Temples,  not  merely 
abandoned  to  silence  and  solitude,  but  rudely 
stripped   of  their  pillared  magnificence,  must   in 

128  Belisarius  in  Rome. 

BOOKV.  many  places  have  offended  the  eve  of  a  beholder 
^^'  ^'  more  sensitive  to  beauty  than  to  religious  enthu- 
^^^'  siasm.  Still  upon  the  whole,  and  with  this  abate- 
ment, we  may  repeat  our  proposition  that  it  was 
the  stately  Eome  of  Consuls  and  Emperors  which 
men  then  looked  upon,  and  which  after  the  middle 
of  the  sixth  century  they  never  beheld  again . 

*  Alas,  for  Earth,  for  never  shall  we  see 
That  brightness  in  her  eye  she  bore  when  Rome  was  free.' 




Source : — 
Procopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  i.  16-19.  BOOKV. 

Ch.  5. 

Vacillation  and  feebleness  of  purpose  marked      536. 
the  counsels  of  Witigis,  as  the  consequences  of  the  ^^^^^}^^¥'' 
fatal  error  which  he  had  committed  in  abandoning 
Kome  made  themselves  manifest  to  his  mind.     At 
first  his  chief  desire  was  to  wait  till  his   forces 
should  be  strengthened  by  the  return  of  Marcias 
with  the  considerable  army  which  he  had  under 
his   command   for    the    defence   of    Gothic   Gaul 
against   the  Franks.     Then   came  tidings  which  Energy  of 
showed  that  Belisarius  felt  his  hold  of  Rome  so 
secure  that  he  might  venture   onwards  into  the 
Tuscan  province.     Bessas  was  sent  to  Narni,  about  Occupation 

n  n  ^^  r  -Tk  in  •    •         of  Narnio 

fiity  miles  from  Rome,  the  first  strong  position 

on  the  Flaminian   Way.      The  inhabitants  being- 

well  affected  to  the  imperial  cause,  he  occupied 

this  post  without  difSculty.     Constantine,  the  rival 

of  Bessas  in  martial  glory,  was  sent  with  some  of 

the  body  guards  of  Belisarius,  and  other  troops, 

among  whom  figured  several  Huns\  in  order  to 

^  The  barbaric-sounding  names  of  the  Hunnish  generals  are 
Zanter,  Chorsoman,  and  Aeschman. 

VOL.  IV.  K 

130  The  Long  Siege  begun, 

BOOKV.  seize   some  positions  yet  further  from   the  city. 
Spoleto,  twenty-five  miles  further  from  Eome  on 

j^^ '      the  Flaminian  Way,  was  occupied  by  a  garrison, 
and  Peru-  Etruriau  Perugia  on  her  lofty  hill-top,  some  forty 


miles  further  north  than  Spoleto,  but  lying  a  little 
off  the  great  Flaminian  highway,  was  next  taken 
possession  of,  and  here  Constantine  fixed  his  head- 
quarters. The  troops  which  Witigis  despatched 
against  Perugia  were  defeated,  and  their  generals^ 
were  sent  as  prisoners  to  Eome. 
Gothic  The  tidings  of  these  reverses  roused  Witigis  to 

operations  .  . 

in  Daima-  morc  vigorous  action  ;  but,  strangely  enough,  after 


tarrying  so  long  in  order  to  be  joined  by  the 
recalled  troops  from  Gaul,  he  must  now  weaken 
himself  still  further  by  sending  a  division  into 
Dalmatia.  It  is  true  that  of  the  two  generals 
despatched  on  this  errand,  one,  Asinarius,  was 
sent  round  the  head  of  the  Hadriatic  Gulf  to 
gather  round  his  standard  the  barbarians  who 
dwelt  in  the  districts  which  we  now  call  Garni ola 
and  Croatia.  But  the  other,  Uligisal,  who  sailed 
straight  to  Dalmatia,  must  have  taken  with  him 
some  troops  who  could  be  ill-spared  from  the 
defence  of  Italy.  It  is  not  necessary  to  trouble 
the  reader  with  the  details  of  these  ill-advised, 
and  in  the  end  resultless,  operations  on  the  east 
of  the  Hadriatic.     The  Goths  met  with  reverses  ^, 

^  Unilas  and  a  second  Pitzas  (not  of  course  the  commander 
in  Samnium  wlio  went  over  to  Belisarius). 

^  Uligisal  was  defeated  at  Scardona  and  shut  up  in  Burnum, 
but  liberated  by  the  arrival  of  his  colleague  Asinarius. 

Witigis  marches  Southwards,  131 

but  succeeded  for  some  time  in  closely  investing  book  v. 

Ch.  5. 


Salona  both  by  sea  and  land\  The  Dalmatian 
capital,  however,  fell  not ;  and  after  a  siege  of 
uncertain  duration,  the  Gothic  soldiers  probably 
recrossed  the  Hadriatic  to  take  part  in  the  more 
urgent  work  of  resisting  Belisarius  in  Italy  ^. 

About  this  time  word  was  brought  to  the  Gothic  Tidings  of 

TT'  1  1  ••  PT-k  •  T'l*         Roman 

King  that  the  citizens  of  Eome  viewed  with  im-  disaffection 

.  p      ,       to  the 

patience  the  presence  and  the  exactions  01  the  imperial 
Imperial  army.  That  there  was  some  foundation 
of  truth  for  this  statement  will  appear  by  a  refer- 
ence to  the  last  chapter ;  but  it  was  evidently 
much  exaggerated,  and  it  by  no  means  followed 
that  the  citizens  who  grumbled  the  most  bitterly 
at  the  general's  preparations  for  the  siege  would 
lift  a  finger  for  the  surrender  of  the  city  to  the 
justly  enraged  Gothic  army.  However,  the  tidings 
kindled  immediately  a  flame  of  hope  in  the  feebly 
forecasting  soul  of  Witigis  :  and  now  he,  who  had 
wasted  precious  months  in  purposeless  inaction, 
thought  every  day  an  age  till  he  had  recovered 
possession  of  the  abandoned  city.  With  the  whole  witigis 
armed  nation  of  the  Goths  (except  the  division  south- 
that  had  been  ordered  to  Dalmatia)  he  marched  i5o,c 
southwards  in  hot  haste  along  the  Flaminian  Way. 
The  numbers  of  his  army  amounted,  if  we  trust 
the  estimate  of  Procopius,  to  1 50,000  men.     The 

^  It  is  interesting  to  note  the  tactics  of  besiegers  and  be- 
sieged. Constantian  had  surrounded  Salona  with  a  deep  ditch. 
The  Goths  surrounded  this  ditch  again  with  a  high  mound. 

^  Procopius  appears  to  have  forgotten  to  tell  us  the  sequel  of 
the  Dalmatian  war. 

K  2 


132  The  Long  Siege  begun. 

BOOKv.  historian  evidently  uses  round  numbers,  and  has 

— '—  probably  exaggerated  the  size  of  the  besieging  host 

^'^^'      in  order  to  increase  the  fame  of  Belisarius ;  but 

there  can  be  no  doubt  that  Witigis  was  followed 

by  a  very  large  army,  outnumbering  many  times 

over   the    little   band   of  the  Imperialists.      The 

proportions  of  infantry  and  cavalry  are  not  stated, 

but  we  are  told  that  the  greater  number,  both  of 

the  horses  and  men,  were  completely  encased  in 

defensive  armour  ^ 

Eagerness       Once  startcd  ou  his  march,  Witisiis  was  tor- 

of  Witigis.  .^ 

mented  by  a  fond  fear  that  Belisarius  would 
escape  him,  and  was  earnest  in  his  prayers  by 
night  and  by  day  that  he  might  behold  the  walls 
of  Eome  while  yet  the  Imperial  forces  stood 
behind  them.  On  the  journey  the  army  fell  in 
with  a  priest  who  had  just  quitted  the  city,  and 
who  was  brought  with  shouts  to  the  King  s  tent. 
'  Is  Belisarius  yet  in  Eome  % '  asked  Witigis, 
breathless  with  anxiety.  *Ay,  and  likely  to 
remain  there,'  was  the  answer  of  the  priest,  who 
had  a  better  idea  of  the  state  of  the  game  than 
his  questioner. 

Still,  the  Imperial  general  was  for  a  moment 

^  Kat  avTci>v  redcopaKiaixevoi  ^vv  rois  iTrnois  oi  TrXelaroi  rjcrav.  From, 
the  mention  of  the  horses  we  may  probably  infer  that  they 
wore  suits  of  flexible  chain  armour.  Compare  the  remarks  of 
the  young  lady  in  Claudian's  poem  on  the  sixth  consulship  of 
Honorius  (569-572) : — 

-*Ut  chalybem  indutos  equites,  et  in  aere  latentes 
Vidit  cornipedes  :    "  Quanam  de  gente  "  rogabat 
"  Ferrati  venere  viri  ?     Quae  terra  metallo 
Nascentes  informat  equos  ? " ' 

Eagerness  of  Witigis.  133 

perplexed  by  the  tidings  that  so  vast  a  host  was  book  v. 
rolHng  on  towards  him.  It  was  not  for  his  own  ___L_L 
position  that  he  was  in  fear,  but  he  felt  that  he      ^^^' 

.  Belisarius 

could  scarcely  hold  the  latest  conquests  m  Tuscany  concen- 
in  the  face  of  such  an  army.  After  some  anxious  forces. 
deliberation  he  ordered  Constantino  and  Bessas  to 
garrison  three  towns  only,  and  then  to  fall  back 
on  Eome.  The  three  towns  were  Spoleto,  Perugia, 
and  Narni,  all  situated  on  the  top  of  high  hills, 
and  therefore  easily  defended.  Narni  especially, 
built  on 

'  that  grey  crag  where  girt  with  towers 
The  fortress  of  Nequinum  lowers 
O'er  the  pale  waves  of  Nar,' 

and  commanding  the  entrance  to  a  deep  and 
picturesque  gorge  spanned  by  the  stately  bridge 
of  Augustus  (one  of  whose  arches  still  remains), 
struck  the  mind  of  the  historian  by  the  grand 
inaccessibility  of  its  position  ^  Bessas,  who  lin-  skirmish 
gered  somewhat  over  the  execution  of  the  orders 
of  his  chief,  had  the  excitement  of  a  successful 
skirmish  with  the  vanguard  of  the  Gothic  army 
before  he  retired  from  this  fortress  to  Rome. 

Notwithstanding  the  fact  that  these  strongholds  witigisat 
were   in   the    possession   of  the    enemy,  Witigis  an  Bridge. 
appears  to  have  pushed  on  by  the  Flaminian  Way 
which  winds  at  their  feet ;  and  was  soon  standing 

^  '■  This  bridge  Csesar  Augustus  built  in  the  times  long  ago, 
a  sight  about  which  much  might  be  said.  For  of  all  the  arches 
that  we  know  this  is  the  loftiest'  (ii.  85).  The  remaining 
arch  is  60  feet  high  and  about  30  feet  broad. 

134  The  Long  Siege  begun. 

BOOKV.  witli  his  150,000  men  at  the  Etrurian  end  of  the 
^^•^'  Milvian  Bridge  over  the  Tiber,  two  miles  from 
^^^'  Eome^  This  bridge,  so  well  known  under  its 
modern  name  of  Ponte  Molle  to  the  fashionable 
loungers  in  Eome,  is  in  its  present  shape  the 
handiwork  of  Papal  architects ;  but  the  founda- 
tions of  the  piers  are  ancient,  and  the  general 
appearance  of  the  six  arches  with  which  it  spans 
the  stream  is  not  probably  very  different  from 
that  which  it  wore  in  the  days  of  Belisarius, 
A   bridge   whose    name    had   often   been    in   the 

^  I  follow  Gibbon,  and  almost  all  other  historians  who  have 
described  this  march  of  the  Goths,  in  interpreting  Procopius' 
*  bridge  over  the  Tiber  at  1 4  stadia  from  Rome  by  the  Milvian 
Bridge/     Gregorovius,  however,  points  out  (i.  349,  n.  i)  that  if 
Witigis  marched,  as  Procopius  says  he  did,  '  through  the  Sabine 
territory '   (fim   2al3ivoiv   rrjv    TTopeiav   Troiovixevos),  he  would  be   on 
the  east  bank  of  the  Tiber  and  would  not  need  to  cross  that 
river  at  all.     He  therefore  suggests  that  Procopius  has  here  as 
elsewhere  confused  the  Tiber  with  the  Anio,  and  that  we  must 
understand  by  his  words  one  of  the   bridges  over  the  latter 
stream,  probably  the  Ponte  Salaro,  which  is  about  the  right 
distance  from  Rome.    I  do  not  think,  however,  that  this  bridge 
corresponds  with  the  description  of  the  battle  nearly  so  well  as 
the  Milvian.     As  we  must  admit  some  inaccuracy  in  Procopius, 
I  prefer  to  sacrifice  the  words  dia  ^ajSivcov  rather  than  the  words 
Ti^epidos  iroTafxov  yecpvpa.     It  is  not  necessary  to  admit  that  the 
large  army  of  the  Goths  would  be  prevented,  by  the  hostile 
occupation   of  Spoleto  and  Narni,   from  using  the  broad  and 
convenient    Via  Flaminia.     The  view  usually  taken  receives 
further  confirmation  from  the  fact  that  in  the  19th  chapter  (p.  94) 
Procopius  mentions  the  bridge  r)  Mik^iov  €7rcovvfi6s  ia-Tiv  as  in  the 
possession  of  the  Goths,  and  essential  to  the  combined  opera- 
tions of  their  army  on  the  two  banks  of  the  river.     He  gives 
no  hint  that  this  is  not  the  same  bridge  which  they  wrested 
from  the  soldiers  of  Belisarius  at  the   commencement  of  the 

The  Milvian  Bridge  abandoned.  135 

mouths  of  the   Eoman  people  in  stirring  times,  book  v. 

Ch  5 

in  the  crises  of  Pnnic  wars  and  Catilinarian  con-  — L_ 
spiracies,  it  had  earned  yet  greater  fame  two  ^'^^' 
centuries  ago  (a.  D.  312)  by  the  bloody  battle 
fought  under  its  parapets  between  the  soldiers 
of  Constantine  and  those  of  Maxentius,  a  battle 
the  result  of  which  ensured  the  triumph  of 
Christianity  through  the  whole  Eoman  world, 
and  which  has  been  for  this  reason  commemorated 
by  EafFaele  and  Eomano  with  splendid  strength 
in  the  Stanze  of  the  Vatican. 

Expecting   that   the  Goths  would   attempt   to  Beiisarius's 
cross  the  river  here,  and  anxious  to  retard  their  tions  for 
progress  \  though   without   hope   of  finally   pre-  oflhe  ^^'^^ 
venting  them  from  reaching  the  eastern  bank  of  "  ^^' 
the  river,  Belisarius  had  erected  a  fortress  on  the 
Etrurian  bank,  and  decided  to  pitch  his  camp  close 
to   the   stream   on  the  Latian  side,   in    order  to 
over-awe    the    barbarians   by   this   show   of  con- 
fidence.    And,  indeed,  the  ardour   of  the  Goths 
was  not  a  little  chilled  when  they  saw  the  castle 
above,  and  the  tawny  river  before  them.     They 
bivouacked  between  Monte  Mario  and  the  Tiber 
for   the   night,   postponing   till    the    morrow   the 
assault  on  the  bridge-fort.     The  night,  however, 

^  But  Procopius  must  surely  be  mistaken  in  saying  that  any 
other  route  than  that  by  the  Milvian  Bridge  would  cause  them 
a  delay  of  twenty  days.  Doubtless  they  could  have  crossed  by 
the  bridge  near  Borghetto,  about  thirty-six  miles  from  Kome. 
This  assertion,  however,  makes  it  more  probable  that  Procopius 
is  really  thinking  of  the  Milvian  Bridge  than  of  the  little  bridges 
over  the  Anio. 

136  The  Long  Siege  begun. 

BOOK  V.  brought  gloomy  forebodings  to  other  hearts  than 

^^•^'    theirs.     It  seemed  to  the  garrison  impossible  that 

r^^-^l^^'      the  bridge  could  be   effectually  defended  against 

bridge-fort  \}^2X  vast  hordo  of  men  whose   camp-fires  filled 

deserted  ^  ^ 

byitsde-   -fche   plain.     Twenty -two    soldiers   of  the    Eoman 

fenders.  ^  ... 

army,  themselves  of  barbarian  origin,  horsemen 
in  the  troop  of  Innocentius,  went  over  to  the 
foes  and  informed  them  of  the  state  of  discourage- 
ment which  prevailed  in  the  garrison.  As  night 
wore  on,  the  rest  of  the  men  on  duty  in  the 
bridge- fort  deserted  their  post.  They  did  not  dare 
to  show  themselves  in  Eome,  but  slunk  away  to 
Campania.  When  day  dawned  the  Goths  marched 
without  difiiculty  through  the  empty  guard-house, 
across  the  undefended  bridge,  and  now  they  stood 
on  the  eastern  bank  of  the  Tiber  with  no  natural 
obstacle  between  them  and  Eome. 
Skirmish         Little  dreamiusf  of  the  cowardice  of  the  gfarrison, 

at  the  .         .  ^  .  . 

eastern      Bclisarius,  wlio  thouglit  the  barbarians  were  still 

end  of  the  in  •  n  r»      i  •  •    i       i 

bridge.  on  the  other  side  oi  the  river,  sent  looo  picked 
horsemen  to  the  bridge- end  to  reconnoitre  for  a 
suitable  camping-ground.  They  fell  in  with  a 
party  of  the  Gothic  horsemen  who  had  just  crossed 
the  bridge,  and  an  equestrian  battle  followed. 
Then,  says  the  historian,  Belisarius  forgot  for  a 
moment  the  discretion  which  ought  to  be  mani- 
fested by  a  general,  and  by  exposing  himself  like  a 
common  soldier  brought  the  Imperial  cause  into 
Belisarius  the  cxtremcst  peril.  Springing  upon  his  charger 
battle.  he  hurried  to  the  place  whence  the  clash  of  arms 
was  heard,  and  was  soon  in  the  thickest  of  the 

Balan  !     Balan  !  137 

fight.  His  horse,  a  noble  creature,  which  did  book  v. 
everything  that  a  horse  could  do  to  carry  its  ^' 
rider  harmless  through  the  fray,  was  well  known  ^^'^' 
to  all  the  army.  Dark-roan  \  with  a  white  star 
upon  its  forehead,  it  was  called  by  the  Greeks 
Phallus  ^,  and  by  the  barbarians  in  the  army 
Balan  ^.  The  deserters  knew  the  steed  and  his 
rider,  and  strove  to  direct  the  weapons  of  the 
Goths  against  them.  '  Balan !  Balan !  Aim  for 
the  horse  with  the  white  star,'  was  their  eager 
exclamation.  The  cry  was  caught  up  by  the 
Goths,  scarce  one  of  whom  understood  its  mean- 
ing. But  they  knew  that  the  horse  with  the 
white  star  must  carry  some  personage  of  import- 
ance :  and  'Balan!  Balan!'  resounded  from  a 
thousand  Gothic  throats  through  the  confused 
roar  of  the  battle.  All  their  bravest  thronged 
to  the  place,  some  with  lances,  some  with  swords, 
striving  to  transfix  or  to  hew  down  the  horse 
and  his  rider.  To  right,  to  left,  Belisarius  dealt 
his  swashing  blows.  The  best  men  of  his  body- 
guard gathered  round  him,  some  protecting  his 
body  and  that  of  his  horse  with  their  shields, 
others  thrusting  back  the  onset  of  the  barbarians 
by  impetuous  counter-charges.  It  was  a  true 
Homeric  battle,  in  which  all  that  was  most  mar- 
tial  in    the  two   armies  was  drawn  to  a  single 

^   (paLos. 

^  The  Greek  word  for  an  animal  with  a  white  patch  on  its 

^  Is  this  a  Hunnish  word,  or  (more  probably)  the  equivalent 
of  Phallus  on  barbarian  lips  ? 

138  The  Long  Siege  begun, 

BOOKV.  point,  and  on  one  group  of  fighting  men  rested 

L_L  the  whole  fortune  of  the  day.     At  length  Roman 

^^^'  arms  and  Roman  discipline  prevailed.  After  a 
thousand  Gothic  warriors  of  the  foremost  rank 
and  many  of  the  bravest  men  of  the  Roman 
general's  household  had  fallen,  the  barbarians  fled 
to  their  camp  ^  and  Belisarius  emerged  absolutely 
unwounded  from  the  fray. 
Second  When  the  fup^itives  reached  the  Gothic  camp 

fight  .  ^  ^  ^ 

nearer  their  comradcs  poured  out  in  support  of  them. 
The  Romans  retreated  to  a  hill  near  at  hand,  and 
here  again  a  battle  of  cavalry  took  place,  in  which 
the  deeds  of  greatest  daring  were  wrought  by  a 
certain  Valentine,  who  served  in  the  humble  capa- 
city of  groom  to  the  son-in-law  of  Belisarius. 
Alone  the  brave  menial  charged  an  advancing 
squadron  of  the  Goths,  and  rescued  his  comrades 
Flight  of  from  imminent  peril.  The  advance  of  the  bar- 
riai  troops,  bariaus  was,  however,  too  strong  to  be  resisted, 
and  at  length  the  whole  Roman  army,  with 
Belisarius  at  their  head,  were  in  full  flight  to 
the  walls  of  the  city.  They  reached  the  Pincian 
Gate  ^,  which,  from  that  memorable  day,  was  long 
afterwards  known  bv  the  name  of  the  Gate  of 
Pelisarius.     Down  the  sides  of  the  fosse  swarmed 

^  Which  must  have  been  hastily  pitched  on  the  east  bank  of 
the  Tiber. 

'^  The  words  of  Procopius  are,  a/i^t  ry]v  irvXrjp  ^  BeXto-apm  o)v6- 
^xao■Tal  vvv.  We  seem  to  be  forced,  by  the  language  of  Pro- 
copius in  the  22nd  chapter,  to  understand  by  this  the  Pincian 
Gate,  although  Procopius  is  generally  carr^ful  to  speak  of  that 
as  a  nvXis,  not  a  TrvXr]. 

The  Pincian  Gate  closed  against  Belisarius.    139 
the  crowd  of  fugitives,  but  only  to  find  to  their  book  v. 

Ch.  5. 

despair  the  folding  doors  of  the  Porta  Pinciana 
obstinately    closed    asiainst    them.      The    hoarse      ^^^' 

*"        .         .  .        The  gate 

voice  of  Belisarius  was  heard,  loudly  and  with  closed 
threats  calling  to  the  sentinels  to  open  the  gate,  Belisarius. 
but  in  vain.  In  that  face,  all  covered  with  sweat, 
and  dust  and  gore,  they  did  not  recognise,  now 
that  twilight  was  coming  on,  the  countenance  of 
the  general  whom  they  had  so  often  seen  serene 
in  his  hours  of  triumph  :  his  voice  they  could 
not  distinguish  through  the  din  of  the  refluent 
tide  of  war.  Above  all,  the  terrible  rumour  had 
reached  their  ears,  brought  by  the  first  fugitives 
from  the  field,  that  Belisarius,  after  performing 
prodigies  of  valour,  had  been  left  dead  upon  the 
plain.  This  thought  most  of  all  unnerved  them. 
They  were  left,  it  seemed,  without  a  general  and 
without  a  plan,  and  as  they  stooped  forward  from 
the  round  towers^  by  the  gate,  to  see  by  the  fading 
light  how  went  the  fortune  of  the  fight,  they  felt 
themselves  to  be  doomed  men  whose  only  chance 
of  safety  lay  in  keeping  fast  the  doors  by  which, 
if  opened,  Goth  and  Boman  would  enter  together. 

This  was  the  state  of  affairs,  the  Boman  soldiers  Belisarius 
huddled  together  under  the  wall,  so  close  to  one  the  Goths. 
another  that  they  could  hardly  move,  their  com- 
rades above  refusing  to  open  the  gates,  the  Goths 
just  preparing  to  rush  down  the  fosse  and  make 
an  exterminating  charge,  when  the  lost  battle  was 
retrieved  by  the  wise  rashness  of  Belisarius. 
^  Still  visible,  thougli  the  gate  itself  is  closed. 

140  The  Long  Siege  begun, 

BOOKV.  Collecting  his  men  into  a  small  but  orderly  army 

Ch.  5. 


he  faced  round  and  made  a  vigorous  charge  upon 
the  pursuing  Groths.  Already  thrown  into  dis- 
order by  the  ardour  of  their  pursuit,  unable  by 
the  fading  light  to  discern  the  small  number  of 
their  foes,  and  naturally  concluding  that  a  new 
army  was  issuing  from  the  gates  of  Eome  to  attack 
them,  the  barbarians  turned  and  fled.  Belisarius 
wisely  pursued  them  but  a  short  distance,  re- 
formed his  ranks,  and  marched  back  in  good  order 
to  the  gate,  where  he  had  now  no  difficulty  in 
obtaining  an  entrance. 
Brave  Thus  did  the  battle,  which  had  commenced  at 

deeds  or  ' 

Belisarius  Jawu  and  lasted  till  dark,  end  after  all  not  dis- 


visandus.  astrously  for  the  Imperial  troops.  By  universal 
consent  the  praise  of  highest  daring  on  that  day 
was  awarded  to  two  men,  •  to  Belisarius  on  the 
side  of  the  Eomans,  and  on  that  of  the  barbarians 
to  a  standard-bearer^  named  Visandus.  The  latter 
was  conspicuous  in  the  thickest  of  the  fight  round 
Belisarius  and  the  dark- roan  steed,  and  it  was 
not  till  he  had  received  his  thirteenth  wound 
that  he  ceased  from  the  combat.  His  victorious 
comrades  saw  and  passed  on  from  what  they 
deemed  to  be  the  corpse  of  their  champion ;  but 
three  days  after,  when  they  came  at  their  leisure 

*  Gibbon  first  pointed  out  that  this  is  the  meaning  of  the 
word  ^av8a\aptos,  which  had  previously  been  looked  upon  as 
a  proper  name.  Procopius  (De  Bello  Yandalico,  ii.  2)  speaks 
of 'the  standard,  which  the  Romans  call  bandum,'  and  (ii.  10) 
'  of  the  man  accustomed  to  carry  the  general's  standard  in  the 
ranks,  whom  the  Romans  call  bandifer.' 

False  alarm  of  Gothic  entrance.  Hi 

to   bury  their   dead,    a   soldier   thought   he   saw  book  v. 
signs  of  life  in  the  body  of  Visandus  and  implored       ^'^' 
him  to  speak.     Hunger  and  a  raging  thirst  pre-      ^^^' 
vented   him    from    doing   more    than    make    one 
gasping    request    for    water.       When    that    was 
brought  him  consciousness  fully  returned,  and  he 
was  able  to  be  carried  into  the  camp.     He  lived 
after  this  many  years,  having  achieved  great  glory 
among  his  countrymen  by  his  prowess  and   his 
narrow  escape  from  death. 

For  Belisarius,  not  even  yet  were  the  labours  Beiisa- 
and  anxieties  of  this  long  day  ended.  He  mustered  arrange- 
the  soldiers  and  the  greater  part  of  the  citizens  the  night. 
upon  the  walls,  and  ordered  them  to  kindle  fre- 
quent fires  along  their  circuit  and  to  watch  the 
whole  night  through.     Then  he  went  round  the 
walls  himself,  arranging  who  was  to  be  responsible 
for  the    defence    of  each   portion,  and  especially 
which  generals  were  to  be  on  guard  at  each  of 
the  gates.     While  he  was  thus  engaged,  a  mes-  False 
senger  came  in  breathless  haste  from  the   Prse-  the  Goths 
nestine  Gate^  at  the  south-east  of  the  city  to  say  of  st^  Pan- 
that   Bessas,    who    was    commanding   there,   had 
learned  that  the  enemy  were  pouring  in  by  the 
Gate  of  St.  Pancratius^  on  the  other  side  of  the 
Tiber.     Hearing  this,  the  officers  round  him  be- 
sought  him    to    save   himself  and   the  army  by 
marching  out  at  some  other  gate.     Unshaken  by 
these   disastrous    tidings,    Belisarius   calmly   said 
that  he  did  not  believe  the  report.    A  horseman, 

^  Porta  Maggiore.  "^  Still  called  Porta  San  Pancrazio. 

142  The  Long  Siege  begun, 

BOOKV.  despatched    with    all    speed    to    the    Trastevere, 

L_   returned  with  the  welcome  news  that  the  enemy 

^^'^'      had   not   been    seen   in   that   part    of    the    city. 

Belisarius  improved   the   opportunity   by   issuing 

a  general  order  that  under  no  circumstances,  not 

even  if  he  heard  that  the  Goths  were  inside  the 

walls,  was  the  officer  entrusted  with  the  defence 

of  one  gate  to  leave  it  in  order  to  carry  assistance 

to  another.     Each  one  was  to  attend  to  his  own 

allotted  portion  of  work  and  leave  the  care  of  the 

general  defence  to  the  commander-in-chief 

Kararxgye       'Y\\Q  eamest  work   of  the   defence   was   inter- 
by  Vv  aCiS. 

rupted  by  the  comedy  of  a  harangue  from  a 
Gothic  chief  named  Wacis,  who,  by  order  of 
Witigis,  drew  near  to  the  walls.  With  much 
vehemence  he  inveighed  against  the  faithlessness 
of  the  Eomans,  who  had  •  betrayed  their  brave 
Gothic  defenders  and  handed  themselves  over, 
instead,  to  the  guardianship  of  a  company  of 
Greeks,  men  who  had  hitherto  never  been  heard 
of  in  Italy  except  as  play-actors,  mimics,  or  vaga- 
bond sailors.  Belisarius  bade  the  men  on  the 
walls  to  treat  this  tirade  with  silent  contempt : 
and  in  truth,  after  the  deeds  of  that  day,  to 
revive  the  taunts  which  had  passed  current  for 
centuries  against  Grecian  effeminacy  was  an  im- 
pertinence which  refuted  itself.  None  the  less, 
however,  did  the  Roman  citizens  marvel  at  and 
secretly  condemn  the  calm  confidence  of  success, 
the  absolute  contempt  for  his  foe  which  was 
displayed  on  this  occasion  by  Belisarius,  so  lately 

A  long  day  ended.  143 

a  fiio;itive  from  the  Gothic  sword.     He  understood  book  v. 
the  rules  of  the  game,  however,  better  than  they,  .  '  '  ' 

and   having  repaired  the  error  of  the    morning,      ^^'" 
knew  that  no  second  opportunity  of  the  same  kind 
would  be  afforded  by  him  to  the  enemy. 

And  now,  at  last,  when  the  night  was  already  Beiisarius 

takes  his 

far  advanced,  was   the    general,   who   had    fasted  first  re- 

from  early  morning,  prevailed  on  by  his  wife  and 

friends  to  take  some  care  for  the  refreshment  of 

his  body,  hastily  snatching  a  simple  meal. 

This  memorable  day  was  the  beginning  of  the  The  siege 

First  Siege  of  Kome  by  the  Ostrogoths,  the  longest  begun. 

and  one  of  the  deadliest  that  the  Eternal  City  has 

ever   endured.     It    began   in   the    early   days   of  March 537. 

March  537,  and  was  not  to  end  till  a  year   and 

nine  days   later  in  the  March   of   538^.     When 

morning  dawned,  the  Goths,  who  entertained  no 

doubt   of  an  early  success  against  so  large   and 

helpless  a  city,  proceeded  to  intrench  themselves  in 

seven  camps,  six  on  the  eastern  and  one  on  the 

western  side  of  the  Tiber.     They   did   not   thus 

*  Lord  Mahon  (Earl  Stanhope),  in  his  Life  of  Belisarius 
(p.  246),  endeavours  to  fix  the  date  of  the  beginning  of  the 
siege  to  March  12.  He  does  this  by  assigning  the  vernal 
equinox  (March  21)  for  its  close.  The  words  of  Procopius, 
however  (ii.  186,  ed.  Bonn),  t6  fiev  ovv  eros  dfi^t  rponas  eapivas  rjv, 
seem  to  me  too  vague  to  support  this  exact  conclusion :  and, 
on  the  other  hand,  his  statement  that  it  began  '  at  the  outset 
of  March '  (Mapriov  laTafxevov  f]  TToXtopKia  kut  dp)(as  yeyovev, 
p.  1 1 7),  coupled  with  the  general  course  of  the  narrative  which 
describes  a  large  number  of  events  before  '  the  winter  ended 
and  the  second  year  of  the  war '  (p.  154),  indicates  a  very  early 
date  in  March  for  the  beginning  of  the  siege.  It  does  not  seem 
possible  to  define  it  more  accurately  than  this. 

144  The  Long  Siege  begun.    , 

BooKv.  accomplish  a  perfect   blockade   of   the   city,  but 

Ch,  5 

Gates  of 

thev  did  obstruct,  in  a  tolerably  effectual  manner, 
eight  out  of  its  fourteen  gates.  As  frequent  re- 
Kome.  ference  in  the  course  of  this  history  will  be  made 
to  one  or  other  of  these  gates,  it  will  be  well  to 
give  a  list  of  them  here,  with  their  ancient  and 
modern  names,  printing  those  that  were  obstructed 
by  the  Goths  in  italics. 

Ancient  Name.  Modern  Name.  No.  of  Towers. 

East  bank  of  the  Tiber  : — 

1.  Porta  Flaminia     ...  P.  del  Pojyolo. 

2.  Porta  Solaria  ....  P.  Solar  a. 

3.  Porta  Nomentona  near  to  P.  Pio. 

4.  Porta  Tiburtina    ...  P.  San  Lorenzo. 

K.  Porta Labicana  81)  ^    t,,       . 

_,         „  V     ,     .  P.  Maggiore. 

6.  Porta  Proenestma) 

7.  Porta  Asinaria     .  near  to  P.  San  Giovanni. 

8.  Porta  Metro  via  (or  Me- 

tronia) Closed. 

9.  Porta  Latina     ....  Closed. 

10.  Porta  Appia      ....  P.SanSebastiano. 

11.  Porta  Ostiensis      ...  P.  San  Paolo.        ^" 

35  to  the  Tiber. 

West  bank  of  the  Tiber :—  4- 

12.  Porta  Portuensis,  near  to  P.  Portese.  29. 

13.  Porta  Aurelia^  (or  Sancti 

Pancratii)     .     .     .     .  P.San Pancrazio.       ,    ,,    riy-x. 

'  24  to  the  iiber. 

14.  Porto  Cornelia  (or  Sancti  Destroyed  (oppo- 

Petri) site   Ponte    S. 

Angelo).  ^^ 


^  There  is  some  little  confusion  about  the  application  of  the 
term  Porta   Aurelia.     It  seems   clear  that   Procopius  uses  it 




The  Gates  of  the  City.  i45 

To  give  some  idea  of  the  distance  of  one  gate  book  v. 
from  another  the  number  of  square  towers  be-  — 1-1- 
tween  each  pair  of  gates  is  added  on  the  autho- 
rity of  the  Pilgrim  of  Einsiedehi.  The  intervals 
between  the  towers  varied  from  lOO  to  300  and 
even  400  feet,  the  wider  spaces  being  chiefly 
found  on  the  west  side  of  the  Tiber. 

Between  the  Flaminian  and  the  Salarian  gates 
stood  the  somewhat  smaller  Porta  Pinciana,  now 
closed,  which  was  the  scene  of  some  hot  encounters 
during  the  siege.  It  is  possible  that  Procopius 
may  have  reckoned  the  Porta  Pinciana  as  one  of 
the  fourteen  gates  belonging  to  the  whole  circuit 
of  the  walls,  and  one  of  the  six  gates  on  the  eastern 
side  of  the  Tiber  that  were  blocked  by  the  enemy. 
In  that  case  we  must  treat  the  Labicana  and  Prae- 
nestina  as  one  gate,  which  their  close  proximity  to 
one  another  justifies  us  in  doing.  It  seems  more 
probable,  however,  that  Procopius,  who  is  generally 
very  careful  to  denote  the  Pincian  by  the  term 
gate-let  (irvKii),  and  who  informs  us  that  there 
were  fourteen  gates  'besides  certain  gate-lets \' 
did  not  mean  to  reckon  the  Pincian  among  the 
great  gates  of  Pome. 

of  Gate  No.  14,  opposite  the  Tomb  of  Hadrian  (Castle  of 
S.  Angelo),  and  equally  clear  that  both  in  earlier  and  in  later 
times  No.  13  was  known  as  Aurelia.  Procopius  knows  the 
latter  only  by  its  ecclesiastical  name,  Porta  Sancti  Pancratii. 
Either  there  were  two  Portae  Aureliae,  or  the  memory  of  the 
historian,  writing  as  he  did  some  thirteen  years  after  his  visit 
to  Eome,  has  played  him  false. 

^  "E;j(ei  \ilv  Tr]s  TToKeoas  6  nepl^oXos  S(S  inTo.  TrvXns  Koi  nvXidas 

VOL.  IV.  L 

146  The  Long  Siege  begtm. 

BOOKV.       The  total  circuit  of  the  walls  of  Aurelian  and 

^°'^'     Honorius   was   about   twelve   miles.      The   space 

^^^"      blockaded  by  the    Goths   amounted    probably   to 

Total  ex-  -^^  ^        ^  ±  ^ 

tent  of  the  about  two- thirds  of  this  circumference. 

walls.  II' 

The  seven       The  camps  of  the   barbarians   were    works   of 

camps.  some  solidity.  Deep  fosses  were  dug  around  them: 
the  earth  dug  out  of  the  fosse  was  piled  on  its 
inner  face  so  as  to  make  a  high  rampart,  and  a 
fence  of  sharp  stakes  was  inserted  therein.  Al- 
together, as  Procopius  says,  these  Gothic  camps 
lacked  none  of  the  defences  of  a  regular  castle. 
A  careful  observer  (Mr.  Parker),  who  has  had  the 
advantage  of  several  years'  residence  in  Rome, 
considers  that  the  traces  of  all  these  camps  are 
still  visible.  Without  venturing  to  pronounce  an 
opinion  on  a  question  requiring  such  minute  local 
knowledge,  it  will  not  be  amiss  to  place  before 
the  reader  the  result  of  his  investigations.  In 
any  event  the  Gothic  camps  must  have  been  near 
the  sites  which  he  has  assigned  to  them. 

Firstcamp.  The  first  camp  was  placed  'within  a  stone's 
throw  of  the  Porta  Flaminia  (to  the  north-east), 
in  the  grounds  which  formerly  belonged  to  the 
villa  of  the  Domitii  ^!  This  camp  was  obviously 
required  in  order  to  obstruct  the  great  northern 
road  of  Rome  and  to  threaten  the  gate  leading 
to  it. 

Second  The    sccond,   probably   the    largest    and   most 

important  of  all,  was  erected  in  what  are  now 
the  gardens  of  the  Villa  Borghese.  The  woods 
'  Whicli,  when  Mr.  Parker  wrote,  belonged  to  Mr.  Esmeade. 

The  Gothic  Camps.  147 

and  sliady  coverts  of  this,   which  is   one 'of  the  book  v. 
most  beautiful  of  the  parks  surrounding  the  walls  .  '  '  _ 
of  Eome,  make  it  now  very  difficult  to  get  a  clear      ^^'^" 
view  of  the  ground  and  to  reconstruct  in  imagina- 
tion  the   scene  of  so    many  terrible    encounters. 
Still  it  is  possible    to  behold   the    quickly-rising 
ground  on  which    the   camp  was   placed.      '  The 
laised  platform  for  the  tents  to  stand  upon  '  (one 
of  these  tents  was   probably   the    royal   pavilion 
of  Witigis)   '  and  the  cliffs  around  it   are '   (says 
Mr.  Parker)  'very   visible.'    Clearly  seen  from  it 
were  doubtless    the   high  walls  of   the  city,   the 
Pincian  gate-let,  and    the    Pincian    gardens    sur- 
rounding the  palace  in  which  Belisarius  dwelt. 

The    third    camp,    *  concealed    from    view    by  Third 
modern    walls,'    says    Parker,    'lay    on    the    left 
hand    of    the    Via    Nomentana,    about    half-way 
(or   rather   less)   to   the  ancient   church   of  '  St. 
Agnes  outside  the  walls.' 

Rounding  the  sharp  projecting  angle  of  the  Fourth 
Oastra  Praetoria  we  come  to  two  camps,  the  camps. 
fourth  and  fifth,  one  on  the  north  and  one  on 
the  south  of  the  Via  Tiburtina.  The  fifth,  savs 
Parker,  'is  very  near  to  the  great  church  and 
burial-ground  of  St.  Laurence  outside  the  walls, 
from  which  the  cliffs  of  it  are  distinctly  seen.' 
The  fourth  is  apparently  placed  by  him  only 
about  a  couple  of  hundred  yards  away  near  the 
Yilla  Santo  Spirito.  It  may  perhaps  be  doubted 
whether  Parker  is  right  in  putting  these  two 
camps  so  near  to  one  another. 

L  2 


The  Long  Siege  begun. 

Ch.  5. 



The  sixth,  and  last  on  this  side  of  the  river, 
is  placed  about  half-a-mile  from  the  south-eastern 
corner  of  the  walls  along  the  Via  Praenestina. 

On  the  other  side  of  the  Tiber  the  Goths 
built  a  camp  to  assure  their  hold  upon  the  Mil- 
vian  Bridge  and  to  threaten  the  gates  of  St.  Peter 
and  St.  Pancratius.  We  are  told  that  it  was  in 
the  Campus  Neronis.  It  must  have  been  there- 
fore not  far  from  wdiere  the  Vatican  palace  now 
stands  :  but  after  the  vast  changes  which  the 
Popes,  from  the  fifteenth  century  onwards,  have 
made  in  that  region,  it  would  be  futile  now  to 
look  for  its  remains  ^  Marcias,  who  had  by  this 
time  arrived  with  the  troops  from  Gaul,  took 
the  command  of  this  trans-Tiberine  camp.  A 
Gothic  officer  was  placed  in  charge  of  each  of 
the  other  camps,  Witigis  having  a  general  over- 
sight of  all  on  the  east  of  the  Tiber  and  the 
particular  oversight  of  one,  which,  as  has  been 
before  said,  was  probably  that  in  the  Borghese 
gardens  2. 

On  the  Boman  side  Belisarius  himself  took 
the  command  of  the  portion  of  the  wall  be- 
tween the  Pincian  gate-let  and  the  Salarian 
gate  ;  the  part  which  was  considered  least  secure, 
and  where  the  Koman  opportunities  for  a  sally 
were  the   most  inviting.     The   Praenestine   Gate 

^  I  venture  to  differ  here  from  Mr.  Parker,  who  places  this 
camp  close  to  the  Ponte  Molle  and  just  at  the  foot  of  Monte 
Mario,  where  he  thinks  remains  of  it  are  still  visible. 

^  Procopius  is  rather  vague  here  :  TSi/  Se  aAXtoi/  Ou/nyt?  j^yeTro 
e/cros  avros.     '  Ap^<ov  yap  rjv  (Is  Kara  x(^P^K(op,a  eKaarov. 

The  Gothic  Camps,  149 

(Maggiore)  was  assigned  to  Bessas,  the  Flaminia  book  v. 
(P.  del  Popolo)  to  Constantine.     The  last-named      "' 
gate  was  blocked  up  with  large   stones  (perliaps      ^^^' 
taken  from  the  old  wall  of  King  Servius),  so  that 
it  might  not  be  possible  for  traitors  to  open  it  to 
the  enemy.     For,   on  account  of  the  close  prox- 
imity of  the  first  Gothic  camp,  a  surprise  at  this 
gate  was  considered  more  probable  than  at  any 

The  building  of  the  seven  camps  of  the  bar- 
barians was  a  temporary  expedient,  and  when  the 
war  was  over  the  traces  of  them,  except  for  the 
eye  of  an  archaeologist,  soon  passed  away.  Not 
so,  however,  with  the  next  operation  resorted  to  by 
the  Goths,  which  may  be  said  to  have  influenced 
the  social  life  of  Rome,  and  through  Rome  the 
social  life  of  the  kingdoms  of  Western  Europe, 
throughout  the  ten  centuries  which  we  call  the 
Middle  Ages.  This  operation  was  the  cutting  of 
the  Aqueducts.  A  deed  of  such  far-reaching  im- 
portance requires  to  be  treated  of  in  a  chapter  by 
itself;  nor  will  the  reader  possibly  object  to  turn 
for  a  little  space  from  the  tale  of  barbarous  battle 
to  the  story  of  the  wise  forethought  of  *  the  Ro- 
mans of  ancient  days,'  the  builders  of  the  mighty 
water-courses  which  fed  the  Eternal  City. 




Sources  : — 

BOOKV.       The  chief  authority  for  the  history  of  the  Roman  Aque- 

^^-  ^'     duets  is  Sextus  Julius  Frontinus  (cir.  a.d.  97)  in  his 

two  books  Be  Aquaeduciibus  Urhis  Bomae,      I   have  used 

chiefly  Dederich's  edition  in  the  Bibliotheca  Teubneriana 

(Leipzig,  1855). 

Guides : — 

The  admirable  monograph  of  the  Commendatore  B. 
Lanciani,  'Le.Acque  e  gli  Acquedotti  di  Roma  Antica' 
(Rome,  1880),  has  superseded  the  treatise  of  Fabretti, 
valuable  as  that  was  in  its  day,  and  will  probably  now 
be  always  the  standard  work  of  reference  on  this  subject. 
An  English  student  may  also  express  his  gratitude  for 
the  assistance  afforded  by  /.  //.  Parker  s  volume,  '  The 
Aqueducts'  (Oxford,  1876).  The  existing  information  on 
the  subject  is  well  summarised  by  H.  Jordan,  '  Topogra- 
phie  der  Stadt  Rom,'  i.  452-480. 

A  travel-        The  Icast  observaiit  visitor  to  Rome  is  awed 

Id*  S  VIGW 

of  the        and  impressed  by  the  ruins  of  the  Aqueducts.     As 

of  Rome,    hc  stands  on  the  top  of  the  Colosseum,  or  as  he 

is  carried  swiftly  past  them    on   the   railway   to 

Naples,  he  sees  their  long  arcades  stretching  away 

in    endless    perspective    across    the    monotonous 

Early   Water-supply  of  Rome.  151 

Campagna,  and,  ignorant  perhaps  of  the  vakiable  book  v. 

service   which  some  of  them  yet  render  to   the  1_ 

water-supply  of  Eome,  he  is  only  touched  and 
saddened  by  the  sight  of  so  much  wasted  labour, 
by  the  ever-recurring  thought  of  the  nothingness 
of  man.  But  when  he  comes  to  enquire  a  little 
more  closely  into  the  history  of  these  wonderful 
structures,  he  finds,  not  only  that  the  ignorance 
of  scientific  principles  to  which  it  was  once  the 
fashion  to  attribute  their  origin,  did  not  exist ; 
not  only  that  the  Popes  of  later  days  have  suc- 
ceeded in  restoring  a  few  of  them  so  as  to  make 
them  practically  useful  in  quenching  the  thirst 
of  the  modern  E-oman  :  but  also  that  the  aque- 
ducts have  a  curious  and  interesting  history  of 
their  own  which  admirably  illustrates  the  life  and 
progress  of  the  great  Bepublic.  As  her  fortunes 
mounted,  so  the  arches  rose,  higher  and  higher. 
As  her  dominion  extended,  so  those  mighty  fila- 
ments stretched  further  and  further  up  into  the 
hills.  Like  a  hand  upon  the  clock-face  of  Empire 
was  the  ever-rising  level  of  the  water-supply  of 

For  four  hundred  and  forty-two  years,  that  is  Water- 
during  the  whole  period  of  the  Kings  and  for  the  Rome  be- 
first  two  centuries  of  the  Republic,  the  Romans  aqueducts 
were    satisfied   with    such    water    as    they   could  b.c.  754 
obtain  from  the   tawny    Tiber;    from   the   wells,  °^^^' 
of  which  there  was  a  considerable  number ;  from 
the  upspringing  fountains,  many  of  which  were 
the  objects   of  a    simple   religious  worship ;    and 

152  The  Cutting  of  the  Aqueducts. 

BOOKV.  from  the  cisterns  in  which  they  collected  the  not 

"'        very  abundant  rain-fall. 
appia,  At    length,  in    the    year    312   B.C.,  when   the 

B  C    ^I 2 

Second  Samnite  War  was  verging  towards  its 
successful  conclusion,  the  great  Censor  Appius 
Claudius  bestowed  upon  Rome  her  first  great 
road  and  her  first  aqueduct,  both  known  through 
all  after  ages  by  his  name  ^.  He  went  for  his 
water-supply  seven  miles  along  the  road  to 
Palestrina,  to  a  spot  now  called  La  Rustica,  about 
half  way  between  Rome  and  the  hills,  and  hence, 
by  a  circuitous  underground  channel  more  than 
eleven  miles  long,  he  brought  the  water  to  the 
city.  Not  till  it  got  to  the  Porta  Capena,  one 
of  the  old  gates  of  the  city  on  its  southern 
side,  did  it  emerge  into  the  light  of  day,  and 
then  it  was  carried  along  arches  only  for  the 
space  of  sixty  paces.  Thus,  according  to  our 
modern  use  of  the  term,  it  might  be  considered  as 
rather  a  conduit  than  an  aqueduct.  It  has  been 
remarked  upon  as  an  interesting  fact  that  Appius 
Claudius,  the  first  Roman  author  in  verse  and 
prose,  the  first  considerable  student  of  Greek 
literature,  was  also  the  first   statesman   to   take 

^  Though  Appius  Claudius  received  the  whole  honour  of  the 
work,  Frontinus  hints  that  he  was  not  solely  entitled  to  it. 
His  colleague  in  the  Censorship,  C.  Plautius,  obtained  the 
surname  Venox  by  reason  of  his  persistent  search  after  veins  of 
water.  Finding  that  Appius  was  not  taking  his  fair  share  of 
this  work  he  resigned  office,  after  he  had  held  it  eighteen 
months.  Appius  availed  himself  of  the  discoveries  of  Venox, 
and  by  fair  means  or  foul  clung  to  office  till  the  aqueduct  was 

Appia  and  Anio   Vetus.  153 

thought    for   the    water-supply   of    Rome.     And  book  v. 

further,    that   he   whose   censorship    was   marked  L_ 

by  a  singular  coalition  between  the  haughtiest 
of  the  aristocracy  and  the  lowest  of  the  commons, 
and  who  was  suspected  of  aiming  at  the  tyranny 
by  the  aid  of  the  latter  class,  carried  the  water 
to  that  which  was  not  only  physically  but  socially 
one  of  the  lowest  quarters  of  Rome,  the  humble 
dwellings  between  the  Aventine  and  the  Caelian 
hills  1. 

Forty  years  later,  a  much  bolder  enterprise  in  anio 
hydraulics  was  successfully  attempted,  when  thcB.c.  272. 
stream  afterwards  known  as  the  Anio  Vetus  was 
brought  into  the  city  by  a  course   of  43  miles, 
at  a   level  of  147   feet  above  the  sea,  or  nearly 
100  feet  higher  than  the  Aqua  Appia^.     The  last 
public  act  of  the  blind  old  Appius  Claudius  (the 
builder  of  the  first  aqueduct)  had  been  to  adjure 
the  Roman   Senate  to   listen  to  no  proposals   of  b.c  280. 
peace  from    King   Pyrrhus    so   long   as   a   single 
Epirote  soldier  remained   on   the    soil   of    Italy. 
Eight  years  later,  when  the  war  with    Pyrrhus  b.c  272 

to  270. 

^  'When  we  remember,'  says  Dr.  Arnold  (Hist,  of  Rome, 
ii.  289),  'that  this  part  of  Rome  was  particularly  inhabited 
by  the  poorest  citizens,  we  may  suspect  that  Appius  wished 
to  repay  the  support  which  he  had  already  received  from  them, 
or  to  purchase  its  continuance  for  the  time  to  come :  but  we 
shall  feel  unmixed  pleasure  in  observing  that  the  first  Roman 
aqueduct  was  constructed  for  the  benefit  of  the  poor  and  of 
those  who  most  needed  it.' 

2  Lanciani  (p.  49)  gives  to  the  Anio  Vetus  at  its  entry  into 
Rome  45*40  metres,  '  di  altezza  assoluta.'  To  the  Appia  (p.  40) 
1 5  metres.     It  is  true  that  this  is  at  the  mouth  of  the  Appia.' 

154  The  CtUting  of  the  Aquedticts. 

BOOKV.  had  been  triumphantly  concluded,  Manius  Curius, 

Ch.  6. 

the  hero  of  that  war,  signalised  his  censorship 
by  beginning  to  build  the  second  aqueduct,  the 
spoils  won  in  battle  from  the  King  of  Epirus 
furnishing  the  pay  of  the  workmen  engaged  in 
the  operation.  He  died  before  the  work  was 
finished,  and  the  glory  of  completing  it  belonged 
to  Fulvius  Flaccus,  created  with  him  '  duumvir 
for  bringing  the  water  to  Eome  ^' 

This  time  the  hydraulic  engineers  went  further 
afield  for  the  source  of  their  supply.  They  looked 
across  the  Campagna  to  the  dim  hills  of  Tivoli — 

'  To  the  green  steeps  whence  Anio  leaps 
In  sheets  of  snow-white  foam,' — 

and  daringly  determined  to  bring  the  river  Anio 
himself,  or  at  least  a  considerable  portion  of  his 
waters,  to  Rome,  At  a  point  about  ten  miles 
above  Tivoli,  near  the  mountain  of  S.  Cosimato, 
the  river  was  tapped.  The  water  which  was 
drawn  from  it  was  carried  through  tunnels  in 
the  rock,  and  by  a  generally  subterranean  course, 
till,  after  a  journey  as  before  stated  of  forty-three 
miles,  it  entered  Rome  just  at  the  level  of  the 
ground,  but  at  a  point  (the  Porta  Maggiore)  where 
that  level  was  considerably  higher  than  the  place 
where  the  Appian  water  crept  into  the  city. 
Makcia,  Four  generations  passed  before  any  further 
addition  was  made  to  the  water-supply  of  Rome. 
Then,  after  the  lapse  of  128  years,  the  Marcian 

^  '  Duumvir  aquae  perducendae.' 

B.C.  144. 

Marcia,  155 

water,  best  of  all  the  potable  waters  of  Eome,  book^ 

was  introduced  into  the  city  by  the   first  aque-  . 1_J 

duct,  in  the  common  acceptation  of  the  term, 
the  finst  channel  carried  visibly  above  ground 
on  arches  over  long  reaches  of  country.  Its 
source  was  at  thirty-eight  miles  from  Eome  in 
the  upper  valley  of  the  Anio,  between  Tivoli 
and  Subiaco.  Here  lay  a  tranquil  pool  of  water 
emerging  from  a  natural  grotto  and  of  a  deep 
green  colour,  whence  cam^e  the  liquid  treasure  of 
the  Marcia,  The  changes  in  the  conformation  of 
the  valley  make  it  difficult  to  identify  the  spot 
with  certainty,  but  it  is  thought  that  the  furthest 
east  of  three  springs  known  as  the  Acque  Serene 
is  probably  the  famous  Marcia.  From  a  spot 
close  to  this,  the  Marcia-Pia  aqueduct,  constructed 
by  a  company  in  our  own  days,  and  named  after 
Pope  Pius  the  Ninth,  now  brings  water  to  the 
city.  The  original  Marcian  aqueduct  was  built 
B.  c.  144,  two  years  after  the  close  of  the  Third 
Punic  War,  and  the  work  was  entrusted  by 
the  Senate,  not  this  time  to  a  Censor,  but  to 
the  Praetor  Urbanus,  the  highest  judicial  officer 
in  Eome,  who  bore  the  name  of  Q.  Marcius 
Eex.  The  aqueduct  had  a  course  of  sixty-one 
miles,  for  seven  of  which  it  was  carried  upon 
arches,  and  it  entered  the  city  at  176  feet  above 
the  sea-level.  The  cost  of  its  construction  was 
180  million  sesterces  \  or  nearly  £1,600,000  ster- 

^  '  Leglmus  apud  Fenestellam,  in  haec  opera  Marcio  decretum 
sestertium  milies  octingenties'  (Frontiims  de  Aquaeductibus,  7). 

156  The  Cutting  of  the  Agtceducts, 

BOOKV.  ling,  and  it  carried  water  into  the  lofty  Capitol 
^•^'  itself,  not  without  some  opposition  on  the  part 
of  the  Augurs,  who,  after  an  inspection  of  the 
Sibylline  books,  averred  that  only  the  water  of 
the  Anio,  not  that  of  any  spring  adjacent  to  it, 
might  be  brought  into  the  temple  of  Jupiter. 

tepula,  Only  nineteen  years  had  elapsed,  but  years  of 

continued  conquest,  especially  in  the  Spanish 
peninsula,  when  in  B.C.  125  another  aqueduct, 
smaller,  but  at  a  slightly  higher  level,  was  added 
to  the  water-bringers  of  Rome.  This  was  the 
Aqua  Te]pula,  thirteen  miles  in  length,  of  which 
only  six  were  subterraneous,  and  entering  Eome 
at  a  height  of  184  feet  above  the  sea-level. 
Servilius  Caepio  and  Longinus  Eavilla  were  the 
Censors  to  whom  the  execution  of  this  work  was 
entrusted.  They  resorted  to  a  new  source  of 
supply,  not  utilising  this  time  either  springs 
or  streams  in  the  Anio  valley,  but  journeying  to 
the  foot  of  the  conical  Alban  Mount  (Monte  Cavo), 
which  rises  to  the  south-east  of  Eome,  and  there 
wooing  the  waters  of  the  tepid^  springs  which 
bubbled  up  near  the  site  of  the  modern  village 
of  Grotta  Ferrata. 

Agrippa         Another  century  passed,  the  century  which  saw 

as  an 

aqueduct    the  risc  of  Marius,  Sulla,  and  the  mighty  Julius. 
Absorbed  in  foreign  war  and  the  factions  of  the 

^  This  spring  still  shows  a  temperature  of  6r°  (Fahrenheit) 
when  the  atmosphere  is  only  46°.  The  neighbouring  Julia  is 
only  50°  at  the  same  time.  S.  Lanciani  appears  to  accept  the 
suggestion  that  the  name  Tepula  is  derived  from  this  cir- 

Tepiila  and  Julia.  157 

Forum,  Eome  had  no  leisure  for  great  works  of  book  v. 

industry,  and  did  not  even  preserve  in  good  con-  L_L 

dition  those  which  she  abeady  possessed.  At 
length  in  the  year  B.C.  '^2^,  three  years  before  the 
battle  of  Actium,  M.  Vipsanius  Agrippa,  the  ablest 
of  the  ministers  of  Augustus,  bestirred  himself  on 
behalf  of  the  water-supply  of  the  vastly  expanded 
city.  He  restored  the  Appia,  the  Anio  Yetus, 
and  the  Marcia,  which  had  fallen  into  ruins,  but  he 
was  not  satisfied  with  mere  reconstruction.  The 
same  hand  which  gave  the  Pantheon  and  its 
adjoining  baths  to  the  citizens  of  Eome  gave 
them  also  two  more  aqueducts,  the  Julia  (b.  c.  'i^^ 
and  the  Aqua  Virgo  (b.  c.  19). 

The  Julia  bore  the  name  of  its  builder,  who,  Julia, 
himself  of  the  plebeian  Yipsanian  gens,  had  been 
adopted,  by  reason  of  his  marriage  with  the 
daughter  of  Augustus,  into  the  high  aristocratic 
family  of  the  Cassars^.  Its  source  was  near  that 
of  the  Tepula,  but  a  little  further  from  Eome. 
Apparently,  in  order  that  it  might  impart  some 
of  its  fresh  coolness  to  that  tepid  stream,  its 
waters  were  first  blended  with  it  and  then  again 
divided  into  another  channel,  which  flowed  into 
Rome  at  an  elevation  four  feet  above  the  Tepula 
(188  feet  above  the  sea-level).  These  two  aque- 
ducts, the  Tepula  and  the  Julia,  are  carried  through 

^  By  a  somewhat  singular  fate,  the  name  of  Agrippa  thus 
adopted  into  the  Julian  family  is  probably  known  most  widely 
through  his  clients  and  complimentary  namesakes,  the  two 
Agrippa-Herods  of  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles. 

158  The  Ctcttiiig  of  the  Aquedtccts, 

BOOKv.  the  greater  part  of  their  course  upon  the  same 

Ch.  6. 

arcade  with  the  Marcia. 

'  Like  friends  once  parted, 
Grown  single-hearted, 
They  plied  their  watery  tasks.' 

And,  as  a  rule,  wherever  in  the  neighbourhood 
of  Rome  the  s^ecus  (so  the  mason-wrought  channel 
is  termed)  of  the  Marcia  is  descried,  one  sees  also 
first  the  Tepula  and  then  the  Julia  rising  above  it. 
Aqua  This  work,  however,  did  not  end  A2:rippa's  labours 

Virgo,  .  '  .  &     rr 

B.C.  19,  for  the  sanitary  well-being  of  Rome.  The  Julia, 
though  twice  as  large  as  the  Tepula,  was  still  one 
of  the  smaller  contributors  of  water  to  the  city. 
Fourteen  years  after  its  introduction  Agrippa 
brought  the  Aqua  Virgo  into  Eome.  This  splendid 
stream,  three  times  as  large  .as  the  Julia,  was  ex- 
ceeded in  size  only  by  the  Anio  Vetus  and  the 
Marcia,  among  the  then  existing  Aqueducts.  To 
obtain  it  he  went  eight  miles  eastward  of  Rome, 
almost  to  the  same  spot  where  the  great  Censor 
had  gathered  the  Aqua  Appia.  The  Aqua  Virgo 
derived  its  name  from  the  story  that  when  the 
soldiers  of  Agrippa  were  peering  about  to  discover 
some  new  spring,  a  little  maid  pointed  out  to 
them  a  streamlet,  which  they  followed  up  with 
the  spade,  thus  soon  finding  themselves  in  pre- 
sence of  an  immense  volume  of  water.  This 
story  was  commemorated  by  a  picture  in  a  little 
chapel  built  over  the  fountain. 

The  Virgo  was  not,  like   all  the  more  recent 
aqueducts,  brought  into    Rome   at  a  high  level. 

Aqtca   Virgo  and  Alsietina,  159 

In  fact  it  was  only  fifteen  feet  higher  than  the  book  v. 
Appia,  as  might  have  been  expected  from  the  , 
nearness  of  origin  of  the  two  streams.  Its  course 
is  perfectly  well  known,  as  it  is  still  bringing 
water  to  Rome,  and  is  in  truth  that  one  of  all 
the  aqueducts  which  shows  the  most  continuous 
record  of  useful  service  from  ancient  to  modern 
times.  It  comes  by  a  pretty  straight  course, 
chiefly  underground,  till  within  about  two  miles 
of  Rome ;  then  it  circles  round  the  eastern  wall 
of  the  city,  winds  through  the  Borghese  gardens, 
creeps  by  a  deep  cutting  through  the  Pincian 
hill,  and  enters  Rome  under  what  is  now  the 
Villa  Medici.  In  old  days  it  was  carried  on  to 
the  Campus  Martins  and  filled  the  baths  of  its 
founder  Agrippa.  It  still  supplies  many  of  the 
chief  fountains  of  the  city,  especially  the  most 
famous  of  all,  the  Fountain  of  Trevi.  When  the 
stranger  steps  down  in  front  of  the  blowing  Tri- 
tons and  takes  his  cup  of  water  from  the  ample 
marble  basin,  drinking  to  his  return  to  the  Eternal 
City,  he  is  in  truth  drinking  to  the  memory  of 
the  wise  Agrippa  and  of  the  little  maid  who 
pointed  out  the  fountain  to  his  legionaries. 

The  contribution  made  by  Augustus  himself  alsietina, 
to  the  water-supply  of  Rome  was  a  less  worthy 
one  than  those  of  his  son-in-law.  '  What  possible 
reason/  says  Frontinus,  *  could  have  induced  Au- 
gustus, that  most  far-sighted  prince,  to  bring  the 
water  of  the  Alsietine  Lake,  which  is  also  called 
Aqua  Augusta,  to   Rome  I   cannot  tell.     It   has 

160  The  Cutting  of  the  Aqueducts. 

BOOKV.  nothmg  to  recommend  it.  It  is  hardly  even 
1-L  wholesome,  and  it  does  not  supply  any  consider- 
able part  of  the  population  [because  of  the  low 
level  at  which  it  enters  the  city].  I  can  only 
suppose  that  when  he  was  constructing  his  Nau- 
machia^  he  did  not  like  to  use  the  better  class 
of  water  to  fill  his  lake,  and  therefore  brought 
this  stream,  granting  all  of  it  that  he  did  not 
want  himself  to  private  persons  for  watering  their 
gardens  and  similar  purposes.  However,  as  often 
as  the  bridges  are  under  repair  and  there  is  a 
consequent  interruption  of  the  regular  supply, 
this  water  is  used  for  drinking  purposes  by  the 
inhabitants  of  the  Trans-Tiberine  region.'  So  far 
Frontinus.  The  work  was  altogether  of  an  in- 
glorious kind.  The  quantity  supplied  was  small, 
less  even  than  that  in  the  little  Aqua  Tepula.  The 
quality,  as  has  been  stated,  was  poor,  the  source  of 
supply  being  the  turbid  Lago  di  Martignano  among 
the  Etrurian  hills  on  the  north-west  of  Kome. 
And  though  it  started  at  a  pretty  high  level 
(680  feet  above  the  sea),  after  a  course  of  a  little 
more  than  twenty-two  miles  it  entered  Rome 
on  a  lower  plane  than  all  the  other  aqueducts, 
lower  even  than  the  modest  Appia,  only  about 
twenty-one  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea. 
Caligula  The  freuzicd  great-grandson  of  Augustus,  the 
aqueduct    terrible  Caligula,  side  by  side  with  all  his  mad 


^  A  lake  in  the  Trans-Tiberine  region  for  the  exhibition  of 
sea-fights  and  other  shows  for  which  a  large  expanse  of  water 
was  required. 

WoodburytyPe — From  a  Photograph 
in   y.  H.  Parker  s  Series.\ 

{^Between  pages  i6o,  i6t. 

Specus  of  the  Anio  Novus  and  Aqua  Claudia  as  seen 


Claudia  and  Anio  Novus.  16 1 

prodigality  did  accomplish    great  works   for   the  book  v. 
water-supply  of  Eome.     He  began,  and  his  uncle  ^' 

Claudius  finished,  the  two  great  aqueducts  which  ^^^^^^^^ 
closed   the   ascending    series   of  Kome's   artificial  ^^'^"g' 
rivers,  the  Claudia  and  the  Anio    Novus.     Thus  *«  52- 
by  a  singular  coincidence    the    work    which   had 
been  begun  by  a  Claudius,  the  blind  Censor  of 
the  fifth  century  of  Kome,  was  crowned  by  another 
Claudius,  not  indeed  a  direct  descendant,  but   a 
far   distant   scion,  of  the   same  haughty   family, 
when  the  city  was  just  entering  upon  her  ninth 

The  two  works,  the  Claudia  and  the  Anio  Novus, 
seem  to  have  been  proceeded  with  contempora- 
neously, and  they  travelled  across  the  Campagna 
on  the  same  stately  series  of  arches,  highest  of  all 
the  arcades  with  whose  ruins  the  traveller  is 
familiar.  They  were,  however,  works  of  very 
different  degrees  of  merit.  The  Claudia  drew  its 
waters  from  two  fountains,  the  Caerulus  and  the 
Curtius,  among  the  hills  overhanging  the  Upper 
Anio,  not  many  hundred  yards  away  from  the 
source  of  the  Marcia^  And  the  water  which  it 
brought  to  the  citizens  of  Eome  was  always  con- 
sidered second  only  in  excellence  to  the  Marcia 

The  construction  of  the  Anio  Novus,  on  the  other 
hand,  was  another  of  those  unwise  attempts  of  which 

^  Lanciani,  who,  as  we  have  seen,  identifies  the  source  of  the 
Marcia  with  the  third  of  the  Acque  Serene,  considers  that  the 
first  and  second  '  Serene '  were  the  sources  of  the  Claudia. 

VOL.  IV.  M 

162  The  Cutting  of  the  Aqueducts. 

BOOK  V.  one  would  have  thought  the  hydrauHc  eugineers  of 
^^'  ^'  the  city  had  had  enough,  to  make  the  river  Anio, 
that  turbid  and  turbulent  stream,  minister  meekly 
to  the  thirst  of  Eome.  The  water  was  taken  out 
of  the  river  itself  from  a  higher  point  than  the 
Anio  Yetus,  indeed  four  miles  higher  than  the 
fountains  of  the  Claudia,  but  that  did  not  remedy 
the  evil.  The  bad  qualities  of  the  Aqua  Alsietina 
did  little  harm,  beyond  some  occasional  incon- 
venience to  the  inhabitants  of  the  Trastevere, 
because  it  lay  below  all  the  other  aqueducts.  But 
of  the  thick  and  muddy  Anio  Novus,  flowing 
above  the  other  streams  and  mixing  its  contri- 
butions with  theirs,  like  some  tedious  and  loud- 
voiced  talker,  whenever  they  were  least  desired, 
of  this  provoking  aqueduct  a  wearied  Imperial 
water-director  could  only  say,  '  It  ruins  aU  the 
others^.'  The  length  of  its  journey  to  the  city 
was  more  than  fifty-eight  miles,  that  of  the 
Claudia  more  than  forty-six,  and  the  arcade  upon 
which  they  together  crossed  the  plain  was  six 
miles  and  four  hundred  and  ninety-one  paces  in 
length.  The  Anio  Novus  entered  the  city  two 
hundred  and  fourteen  feet  above  the  level  of  the 
sea,  the  Claudia  nine  feet  lower. 

Thus  were  completed  the  nine  great  aqueducts 
of  Rome ;  the  aqueducts  whose  resources  and 
machinery  are  copiously  explained  to  us  by  the 
curator,  Frontinus.  Without  troubling  the  reader 
with  the  names  of  some  doubtful  or  obscure  addi- 

^  *  Alias  omnes  perdit '  (Frontinus,  xiii). 

Trajana  and  Alexandrina.  163 

tions  to  the  list,  it  must  nevertheless  be  mentioned  book  v. 

Ch.  6. 

that  the  Emperor  Trajan,   in  the  year  109-110, 
broup-ht  the  water  of  the  Sabatine  Lake  (Lago  di  trajana, 

D  ^  o  A.D.  109- 

Bracciano)  to  Kome.  This  lake  was  immediately  "o- 
adjoining  to  the  (much  smaller)  Lacus  Alsietinus 
from  which  Augustus  had  drawn  his  supply. 
Trajan,  however,  did  not  fritter  away  the  advan- 
tage of  his  high  fountain-head  as  Augustus  had 
done,  but  brought  his  aqueduct  right  over  the  hill 
of  the  Janiculum.  Here  in  the  days  of  Procopius 
its  stream  might  be  seen  (till  Witigis  intercepted 
it)  turning  the  wheels  of  a  hundred  mills.  Here 
now  its  restored  waters  may  be  seen  gushing  in 
magnificent  abundance  through  the  three  arches 
of  Fontana  on  the  high  hill  of  S.  Pietro  in 

In  the  following  century  the  excellent  young  alexan 
Emperor  Alexander  Severus  obtained  a  fresh 
supply  from  the  neighbourhood  of  the  old  city  of 
Gabii\  about  four  miles  south-east  of  the  source 
of  the  Aqua  Virgo.  Little  is  known  of  the  size 
or  the  course  of  the  Aqua  Alexandrina,  whose 
chief  interest  for  us  is  derived  from  the  fact  that 
it  is  practically  the  same  aqueduct  which  was 
restored  by  the  imperious  old  Pope,  Sixtus  V, 
and  which  is  now  called,  after  the  name  which  Aqua 
he  bore  *  in  religion,'  Aqua  Felice.  A  more  com- 
plete contrast  is  hardly  presented  to  us  by  history 
than  between  the  first  founder  and  the  restorer 
of  this  aqueduct,  between  the  young,  fresh,  warm- 

^  '  Under  La  Colonna,  the  ancient  Labicum '  (Parker). 
M  2 

circa  A.  D. 


The  CtUting  of  the  Aquediccts, 



\0  VO  vo\o 

-    O   OvOO   t^^  \r\  -^  ( 


OvOO  t>>o  >rc" 

O  O\00   C^VO  V-L  ■<)•  ( 

























,,— ^ 














The  height  at  which  the  aqueducts  entered  Rome  is  given  in  metres  ( —  39  inches) : 
the  distance  traversed  by  them  from  their  source  in  Roman  miles  (  =  1618  yards).  It  will 
be  seen  that  no  attempt  is  made  to  represent  the  gradient  of  the  aqueducts.  The  proportion 
of  the  course  above  ground  is  indicated  by  a  thick  line,  (This  is  conjectural  in  the'  case  of 
the  Alsietina.) 

Maintenance  of  the  Aqueducts.  165 

hearted   Emperor,  only   too   gentle   a   ruler   and  book  v. 

too  dutiful  a  son  for  the  fierce  times  in  which  he  . 1_L 

lived,  and  the  proud  and  lonely  old  Pope,  who 
bent  low  as  if  in  decrepitude  till  he  had  picked 
up  the  Papal  Tiara,  and  then  stood  erect,  just  and 
inflexible,  a  terror  to  the  world  and  to  Rome. 

With  Alexander  Severus  the  history  of  the 
aqueducts  closes.  In  the  terrible  convulsions 
which  marked  the  middle  of  the  third  century 
there  was  no  time  or  money  to  spare  for  the  em- 
bellishment of  the  city.  When  peace  was  restored 
Diocletian  and  his  attendant  group  of  Emperors 
were  to  be  found  at  Milan,  at  Nicomedeia,  anywhere 
rather  than  at  Eome.  Constantino  was  too  much 
engrossed  with  his  new  capital  and  his  new  creed 
to  have  leisure  for  the  improvement  of  the  still 
Pagan  city  by  the  Tiber.  And  two  generations 
after  the  death  of  Constantino  the  barbarians  were 
on  the  sacred  soil  of  Italy,  and  it  was  no  longer  a 
question  of  constructing  great  works,  but  of  feebly 
and  fearfully  defending  them. 

The  amount  of  careful  thought  and  contrivance  Mainten- 
which  was  involved  m  the  construction  and  mam-  aqueducts. 
tenance  of  these  mighty  works  can  be  but  im- 
perfectly estimated  by  us.  Ventilating-shafts,  or 
'respirators'  as  they  are  sometimes  called,  were 
introduced  at  proper  intervals  into  the  subterra- 
neous aqueducts  in  order  to  let  out  the  imprisoned 
air.  At  every  half  mile  or  so  the  channel  formed 
an  angle,  to  break  the  force  of  the  water,  and  a 
reservoir    was    generally    placed    at    every    such 

166  The  Cutting  of  the  Aqueducts. 

BOOKV.  corner  \  The  land  for  fifteen  feet  on  each  side 
^"'^'  of  the  water-course  was  purchased  from  the 
neighbouring  owners  and  devoted  to  the  use  of 
the  aqueduct.  Injury  from  other  buildings  and 
from  the  roots  of  trees  was  thus  avoided,  and  the 
crops  raised  on  these  narrow  strips  of  land  con- 
tributed to  the  sustenance  of  the  little  army  of 
slaves  employed  in  the  maintenance  of  the  water- 
way. Of  these  at  the  end  of  the  first  century 
there  were  700,  constituting  two  familiae.  One 
familia,  consisting  of  240  men,  had  been  formed 
by  that  indefatigable  water-reformer,  the  Sir  Hugh 
Myddelton  of  Rome,  Vipsanius  Agrippa,  by  him 
bequeathed  to  Augustus,  and  by  Augustus  to  the 
State.  The  other  and  larger  body  (460  men)  had 
been  formed  by  Claudius  when  he  was  engaged 
in  the  construction  of  the  two  highest  aqueducts, 
and  by  him  were  likewise  presented  to  the  State. 
The  command  of  this  little  band  of  men  was 
vested  in  the  Curator  Aquarum,  a  high  officer  ^, 
who  in  the  imperial  age  was  generally  designated 
for  the  work  of  superintending  the  water-supply. 
In  earlier  times  this  work  had  not  been  assigned  to 
any  special  officer,  but  had  formed  part  of  the  func- 
tions of  an  Aedile  or  a  Censor. 

Reservoirs.      Outsidc  the  walls  there  were  a  certain  number 
of  reservoirs  ('piscinae),  in  which  some  of  the  aque- 

^  Parker,  Aqueducts,  p.  71. 

^  He  had  a  right  to  the  attendance  of  two  lictors,  besides  an 
unnamed  number  of  '  apparitors,'  when  he  walked  through  the 
streets  of  Kome. 

Caste  Ha  Aquae.  167 

ducts  had  the  opportunity  of  clearing  their  waters  book  v. 
by  depositing  the  mud  or  sand  swept  into  them  by  , 
a  sudden  storm. 

Inside  the  city  there  were  247  'castles  of  water/ 
heads  or  reservoirs  constructed  of  masonry,  in  which 
the  water  was  stored,  and  out  of  which  the  supply- 
pipes  for  the  various  regions  of  Eome  were  taken. 
For,  in  theory  at  least,  no  pipe  might  tap  the  chan- 
nels of  communication,  but  all  must  draw  from 
some  castellum  aquae.  This  provision,  however,  was 
often  evaded  by  the  dishonesty  of  the  servile  water- 
men, who  made  a  profit  out  of  selling  the  water  of 
the  state  to  private  individuals.  A  vast  under-  Pipes, 
ground  labyrinth  of  leaden  pipes,  in  Old  Eome  as 
in  a  modern  city,  conveyed  the  water  to  the  cis- 
terns of  the  different  houses.  The  lead  for  this 
purpose  was  probably  brought  to  a  large  extent 
from  our  own  island,  since  we  find  traces  of  the 
Komans  at  work  in  the  lead-mines  of  the  Men- 
dip  Hills  within  six  years  of  their  conquest  of 
Britain  ^  As  Claudius  was  the  then  reigning 
Emperor,  the  cargoes  of  lead  so  shipped  from 
Britain  to  Eome  would  be  usefully  employed  in 
distributing  the  new  water-supply  brought  to  the 
higher  levels  by  the  Anio  Novus  and  Aqua  Clau- 
dia. One  thousand  kilogrammes  of  these  leaden 
pipes  were  sent,  unchronicled,  to  the  melting-pot 
five  years  ago  by  one  proprietor  alone  ^.     But  by 

*  See   Hiibner's  article  '  Eine   Romische    Annexion '   in  the 
Deutsche  Rundschau,  May  8,  1878. 

'"  Prince  Alessandro  Torlonia  (see  Lanciani.  p.  202). 

168  The  CtUting  of  the  Aqueducts. 

BOOKV.  carefully  watching  his  opportunities,  the  eminent 
^'        archaeologist  Lanciani  has  succeeded  in  rescuing 
six  hundred  inscribed  pipes  from  the  havoc  neces- 
sarily  caused  by   all   building    operations   in  the 
soil  intersected  by  them  ;  and  these  six  hundred 
inscriptions,  classed  and  analysed   by  him,  throw 
a  valuable  light  on  the  aquarian  laws  and  cus- 
toms of  Imperial  Eome. 
Appoint-        It   has   been   said   that  fraud  was  extensively 
Frontinus  practiscd  by  the  slaves  in  the  employment  of  the 
Aqulrum,  CuTatoT  Aquavum.     It  may  have  been  some  sus- 
^'^'  picion  of  these  fraudulent  practices  which  caused 

the  Emperor  Nerva  to  nominate  to  that  high 
place  Sextus  Julius  Frontinus.  This  man,  ener- 
getic, fearless,  thorough,  and  equally  ready  to 
grapple  with  the  difficulties  of  peaceful  and  of 
warlike  administration,  reminds  us  of  the  best 
Hisprevi-  type  of  our  owu  Anglo-Indian  governors.  For 
three  years  (a.d.  75-78)  he  successfully  admini- 
stered the  affairs  of  the  province  of  Britain,  as 
the  worthy  successor  of  Cerealis,  as  the  not 
unworthy  predecessor  of  Agricola.  The  chief 
exploit  that  marked  his  tenure  of  office  was  the 
subjugation  of  the  Silures,  the  warlike  and  power- 
ful tribe  who  held  the  hills  of  Brecknock  and 
Glamorgan.  Twenty  years  later,  and  when  he 
was  probably  past  middle  life,  Nerva,  as  has 
been  said,  delegated  to  him  the  difficult  task  of 
investigating  and  reforming  the  abuses  connected 
with  the  water  -  supply  of  the  capital.  The 
treatise  which  he  composed  during  his  curatorship 

ous  career. 

Abuses  connected  with  the   Water-supply,     169 

is  our  chief  authority  on  the  subject  of  the  Eoman  book  v. 

aqueducts.    Containing  many  careful  scientific  cal- 1__ 

culations  and  many  useful  hints  as  to  the  best 
means  of  upholding  those  mighty  structures,  it  is 
an  admirable  specimen  of  the  strong,  clear  common- 
sense  and  faithful  attention  to  minute  detail  which 
were  the  characteristics  of  the  best  specimens  of 
Roman  officials. 

The  attention  of  Frontinus  was  at  once  arrested  Frontinus 


by  the  fact  that  m  the  cdmmentarii  or  registers  with  the 
of  the  water-office   there   was   actually  a  larger  connected 
quantity  of  water  accounted  for  than  the  whole  water- 
amount    which,    according    to    the    same    books,  ^"^^  ^' 
appeared  to  be  received  from  the  various  aque- 
ducts.    This  slip  on  the  part  of  the   fraudulent 
aquarii  caused  the  new  Curator  to  take  careful 
measurements  of  the  water  at  the  source  of  each 
aqueduct :    and  these    measurements  led  him  to 
the  astounding  result  that  the  quantity  of  water 
entering    the    aqueducts    was    greater    than   the 
quantity  alleged  to  be  distributed  ^  through  them 
by  nearly  one  half  ^.     Some  part  of  this  difference 
might  be  due  to  unavoidable  leakage  along  the 
line  of  the  aqueducts  :    but  far  the  larger  part 
of  it   was   due   to   the    depredations   of    private 
persons,  assisted  by  the  corrupt  connivance  of  the 
aquarii.     When  a  private  person  had  received  a 

^  Erogatio  is  the  technical  term  for  the  distribution  of  the 

^  Amount  measured  at  the  sources,  24,805  quinariae:  amount 
in  the  commentarii,  12,755:  amount  of  admitted  'erogation,' 
1 4? 3 4 3-     See  Table  A  at  the  end  of  this  chapter. 

170  The  Ctdting  of  the  Aqueducts. 

BOOK  V.  grant  of  water  from  the  State,  the  proper  course 
°'        was  for  him  to  deposit  a  model  of  the  pipe  which 
had  been  conceded  to   him  in  the  office  of  the 
Curator,  whose   servants   were   then  directed   to 
make  an  orifice  of  the  same  dimensions  in  the 
side  of  the  reservoir,  and  permit   the  consumer 
to  attach  to  it  a  pipe  of  the  same  size.     Some- 
times however,  for  a  bribe,  the  aquarius   would 
make  a  hole  of  larger  diameter  than  the  conces- 
sion.    Sometimes,  while  keeping  the  hole  of  the 
right  size,  he  would  attach  a  larger  pipe  which 
would  soon  be  filled  by  the  pressure  of  the  water 
oozing  through  the  wall  of  the  reservoir.     Some- 
times a  pipe  for  which  there  was  absolutely  no 
authority  at   all    would   be   introduced   into   the 
reservoir,  or  yet  worse  into  the  aqueduct  before 
it  reached  the  reservoir.     Sometimes  the  grant  of 
water,  which  was  by  its  express  terms  limited  to 
the  individual  for  life,  would  by  corrupt  conniv- 
ance, without   any  fresh  grant,  be  continued  to 
his   heirs.     At   every  point    the   precious    liquid 
treasure  of  the  State  was  being  wasted,  that  the 
pockets  of  the  familia  who  served  the  aqueduct 
might  be  filled.     It  was  probably  some  rumour 
of  this   infidelity  of  the   aquarii   to   their  trust, 
as  well   as  a  knowledge  of  the  lavish  grants  of 
some  of  the  Emperors,  which  caused  Pliny  to  say, 
a   generation   before   the    reforms    of   Frontinus, 
'  The  Aqua  Virgo  excels  all  other  waters  to  the 
touch,  and  the  Aqua  Marcia  to  the  taste  ;    but 
the  pleasure  of  both  has  now  for  long  been  lost 

Reforms  of  Frontinus.  171 

to  the  city,  through  the  ambition  and  avarice  of  book  v. 
the  men  who  pervert  the  fountains  of  the  public        ' 

health  for   the   supply  of  their   own  villas   and 
suburban  estates  ^' 

These  then  were  the  abuses  which  the  former 
governor  of  Britain  and  conqueror  of  the  Silures 
was  placed  in  office  to  reform ;  and  there  can 
be  little  doubt  that,  at  any  rate  for  a  time,  he  did 
reform  them  and  restore  to  the  people  of  Eome 
the  full  water-supply  to  which  they  were  entitled. 
What  was  that  water-supply,  stated  in  terms  with 
which  we  are  familiar  \  What  was  the  equi- 
valent of  the  24,805  quinariae  which  Frontinus 
insisted  on  debiting  to  the  account  of  the  aquarii 
at  Eome  1  In  attempting  to  answer  this  question 
we  are  at  once  confronted  by  the  difficulty,  that 
though  Frontinus  has  given  us  very  exact  par- 
ticulars as  to  the  dimensions  of  the  pipes  em- 
ployed, he  has  not  put  beyond  the  possibility  of 
a  doubt  the  rate  at  which  the  water  flowed 
through  them,  and  which  may  have  been  very 
different  for  different  aqueducts. 

M.  Eondelet,  a  French  scholar  and  engineer  of  Estimates 
the  early  part  of  this  century  ^,  after  enquiring  water- 
very  carefully  into  the  subject,  came  to  the  con-  Eome^  ^ 
elusion  that  the  value  of  the  quinaria  was  equi- 
valent to  a  service  of  sixty  cubic  metres  per  day. 
Lanciani,  going  minutely  over  the  same  ground, 

^  Historia  Naturalis,  lib.  xxxi. 

^  His  translation  of  Frontinus,  with   notes  and  plates,  was 
published  at  Paris  in  the  year  1820. 

172  The  Cutting  of  the  Aqtcedtccts. 

BOOKV.  slightly  alters  this  figure,  which  he  turns  into 
^^'  ^'  63*18  cubic  metres,  or  13,906  gallons  a  day.  If 
we  may  rely  on  this  computation,  the  whole 
amount  of  water  poured  into  Bome  at  the  end 
of  the  first  century  by  the  aqueducts,  before 
Trajan  and  Alexander  Severus  had  augmented 
the  aquarian  treasures  of  the  city  by  the  water- 
courses which  bore  their  names,  was  not  less  than 
344,938,330  gallons  per  day.  Adopting  the  con- 
jecture, in  which  there  seems  some  probability  \ 
that  the  population  of  Eome  in  its  most  prosper- 
ous estate  reached  to  about  a  million  and  a  half, 
this  gives  a  supply  of  230  gallons  daily  for  each 

Compari-        In   our   owu  couutry  at  the  present  day  the 

son  with  X*  r»  j_  •  i  x 

modern  cousumptiou  01  watcr  m  our  large  towns  varies 
between  twenty  and  thirty  gallons  per  head  daily, 
and  in  one  or  two  towns  does  not  rise  above  ten 
gallons^.  What  the  supply  may  have  been  in 
the  London  of  the  Plantagenets  and  Tudors,  before 
the  great  water-reform  of  Sir  Hugh  Myddelton, 
we  have  perhaps  no  means  of  estimating ;  but 
it  is  stated,  apparently  on  good  authority,  that 
'in  1 550  the  inhabitants  of  Paris  received  a  supply 

^  See  vol.  i.  p.  395. 

^  See  Table  in  Humber's  Water  Supply  of  Cities  and 
Towns  (London,  1876),  p.  86.  The  average  for  many  Euro- 
pean towns  seems  to  be  about  the  same  as  ours :  for  Berlin  and 
Lyons  20  gallons  daily,  Paris  28  (London  29),  Leghorn  30, 
Hamburg  33.  Some  of  the  American  towns  show  much  larger 
averages:  Toronto  77  gallons,  Buffalo  87,  New  York  100, 
Chicago  119,  and  Washington  the  extraordinarily  high  average 
of  155  gallons  daily  for  each  inhabitant. 


Ratio  of  Supply  to  Population  of  Rome.    173 

of  only  one  quart  ]^er  day,  and  nine-tenths  of  the  eook  v. 
people  were  compelled  to  obtain  their  supply  __fl_l_ 
direct  from  the  Seine  ^! 

The  estimate  of  the  contents  of  the  aqueducts  Doubt  as 
given    above    is    that    which    has    hitherto    ob-  tuai  value 
tamed   most   acceptance.      It   is   right,   however,  of  measure 
to  mention  that  a  recent  enquirer  ^  throws  some  by  ^hJ^ 
doubt    on   Kondelet's    calculations.       From    some  water-" 
observations  made  by  him   on  the  diameter  and  ^"^^®y°^'^- 
the  gradient  of  the  channel  of  the  Aqua  Marcia 
he  reduces  the  average  velocity  of  the  streams, 
and  consequently  the  volume  of  water  delivered 
by  them,  by  more  than  one  half     The  value  of 
the    quinaria   on   this   computation    descends   to 
about    6ooo   gallons  a  day,  the   total   supply  of 
the  nine  aqueducts  in  the  time  of  Frontinus  to 
148,000,000  gallons,  and  the  allowance  per  head 
per  day  to  one  hundred  gallons.    Even  so,  however, 
the   Eoman   citizen   had   more   than   three  times 
the  amount  provided  for  the  inhabitants  of  our 
English  cities  by  the   most  liberal    of  our   own 

A  reference  to  the  tables  at  the  end  of  this  what 
chapter  may,  however,  seem  to  call  for  a  yet  further  private 
modification  of  our  statement  as  to  the  aquarian  the  water- 
privileges  of  the  Eoman.     It  will  there  be  seen  ^"^^  ^ 
that  of  the  14,018  quinariae  distributed,  only  6182 
went  to    private   persons,    while   4443    were   be- 

^  Humber,  p.  3. 

^  Author  of  'Brevi  notizie  sull'  acqua  pia/  quoted  by  Lan- 
ciani  (who  seems  more  than  half  convinced  by  him),  p.  361. 

174  The  C letting  of  the  Aqtieducts, 

BOOK  V.  stowed  on  public  works,  and  no  fewer  than  3  393  were 
°'  'erogated'  in  the  name  of  Csesar,  the  ubiquitous 
all-grasping  Emperor.  The  needful  qualification 
is  apparent  rather  than  real.  Doubtless  there 
would  be  profuse  expenditure,  even  lavish  waste 
of  water,  in  the  vast  halls  of  the  Palatine,  espe- 
cially when  a  Vitellius  or  a  Heliogabalus  dwelt 
in  them,  squandering  the  wealth  of  the  world 
upon  his  banquets.  But  it  is  pointed  out  by 
Lanciani^  that  the  splendid  edifices  raised  by  the 
Emperors  for  the  delight  of  their  subjects,  the 
Flavian  Amphitheatre,  the  Antonine  Baths,  the 
Forum  of  Trajan,  and  all  that  class  of  institutions 
with  which  the  city  was  embellished  at  the 
expense  of  the  Fiscus,  would  receive  their  con- 
stant supplies  of  water  'in  the  name  of  Caesar.' 
Perhaps  therefore  it  might  be  asserted  that  there 
was  no  part  of  the  distribution  by  which  the  ^oor 
citizen  benefited  more  largely  than  these  3393 
quinariae  of  which  the  Emperor  was  apparently 
the  receiver. 

How  was        This  last  consideration  brinp;s  us  to  the  question 

this  vast  *-*  ^  •*• 

volume  of  what  could  have  been  done  with  all  this  wealth 

water  ex- 
pended?    of  water  so  lavishly  poured  into  the  Eternal  City. 

The  sparkling  fountains  with  which  every  open 
space  was  adorned  and  refreshed,  the  great  arti- 
ficial lakes,  on  which  at  the  occasion  of  23ublic 
festivals  mimic  navies  fought  and  in  which  marine 
monsters  sported,  are  in  part  an  answer  to  our 
question.     But   the    Tliermae,   those    magnificent 

'  P.  369. 

The  great  Roman  Baths.  175 

ranges  of  halls   in  which  the  poorest  citizen  of  book  v. 
Kome  could  enjoy,  free  of  expense,  all  and  more        ' 
than   all   the    luxuries    that    we    associate    with  p^^^t^^/*^ 

the  baths. 

our  mis-named  Turkish  Bath,  the  Thermae,  those 
splendid  temples  of  health,  cleanliness,  and  civi- 
lisation, must  undoubtedly  take  the  responsibility 
of  the  largest  share  in  the  water-consumption  of 
Eome.  We  glanced  a  little  while  ago^  at  the 
mighty  Baths  of  Caracalla,  able  to  accommodate 
1600  bathers  at  once.  Twice  that  number,  we 
are  told^,  could  enjoy  the  Baths  of  Diocletian,  those 
vast  baths  in  whose  central  hall  a  large  church^ 
is  now  erected,  large,  but  occupying  a  compara- 
tively small  part  of  the  ancient  building.  It  is 
true  that  this  was  the  most  extensive  of  all  the 
Eoman  Thermae  ;  but  the  Baths  of  Constantine 
on  the  Quirinal,  of  Agrippa  by  the  Pantheon, 
of  Titus  and  Trajan  above  the  rains  of  the  Golden 
House  of  Nero,  were  also  superb  buildings,  fit  to 
be  the  chosen  resort  of  the  sovereign  people  of 
the  world ;  and  all  (with  the  possible  exception 
of  the  Baths  of  Titus)  were  still  in  use,  still 
receiving  the  crystal  treasures  of  the  aqueducts, 
when  Belisarius  recovered  Eome  for  the  Eoman 

Now,  in  these   first  weeks  of  March   537,  all  Gothic 

iTTi*  f>         '     '^'         •  '11  destruction 

this    splendid    heritage    01    civilisation    perished  of  the 
as  in  a   moment.     '  The    Goths    having  thus  ar- 
ranged their  army  destroyed  all   the   aqueducts, 

^  P.  no.  ^  Olympiodorus,  p.  469  (ed.  Bonn). 

^  S.  Maria  degli  Angeli. 

176  The  Cutting  of  the  Aqueducts. 

BOOKV.  so  that  no  water  might  enter  from  them  into  the 

Ch.  6. 

city^'  The  historians  statement  is  very  clear 
and  positive  :  otherwise  we  might  be  disposed  to 
doubt  whether  the  barbarians  burrowed  beneath 
the  ground  to  discover  and  destroy  the  Aqua 
Appia,  which  is  subterraneous  till  after  it  has 
entered  the  circuit  of  the  walls.  One  would  like 
to  be  informed  also  how  they  succeeded  in  ar- 
resting these  copious  streams  of  water  without 
turning  the  Campagna  itself  into  a  morass.  The 
waters  which  came  from  the  Anio  valley  may 
perhaps  have  been  diverted  back  again  into  that 
stream,  but  some  of  the  others  which  had  no 
river-bed  near  them  must  surely  have  been  diffi- 
cult to  deal  with.  Possibly  the  sickness  which 
at  a  later  period  assailed  the  Gothic  host  may 
have  sprung  in  part  from  the  unwholesome  ac- 
cumulation of  these  stagnant  waters. 

But   our   chief  interest   in    the    operation,    an 

^  Procopius,  De  Bell.  Gottli.  i.  19.  He  goes  on  to  state  that 
the  aqueducts  were  fourteen  in  number,  built  of  baked  bricks 
by  'the  men  of  old,'  and  of  such  dimensions  that  a  man  on 
horseback  could  ride  through  them.  This  last  statement  is  an 
exaggeration.  The  specus  of  the  Anio  Novus,  the  highest  of  all 
the  aqueducts,  is  only  2*70  metres,  or  8  feet  9  inches  high,  and 
most  of  them  are  about  4  or  5  feet  high.  The  number  of 
fourteen  is  made  up,  according  to  Lanciani  (p.  186),  by  the 
nine  of  Frontinus,  the  Trajana,  the  Alexandrina,  and  three 
supplemental  channels,  the  Augusta,  the  Specus  Octavianus, 
and  the  Specus  Antonianus,  which  though  not  independent 
aqueducts  might  seem  so  to  Procopius,  as  they  touched  the 
wall  at  different  points  from  the  main  channels.  Jordan 
(i.  479)  thinks  that  Procopius  mentioned  the  number  fourteen 
from  some  remembrance  of  the  fourteen  regions  of  the  city. 

Change  in  the  habits  of  the  Romans.      177 
interest  of  regret,  arises  from  the  change  which  book  v. 

Ch.  6. 

it  must  have  wrought  in  the  habits  of  the  Eoman 
people.  Some  faint  and  feeble  attempts  to  restore  ^^^^^^ 
the  aqueducts  were  possibly  made  when  the  war  ^"^^^1^11^ 
was  ended :  in  fact  one  such,  accomplished  by  ""^Y^  of 
Belisarius  for  the  Aqua  Trajana,  is  recorded  in  i^<>"^e- 
an  inscription  ^  But  as  a  whole,  we  may  con- 
fidently state  that  the  imperial  system  of  aqueducts 
was  never  restored.  Three  in  the  course  of  ages 
were  recovered  for  the  City  by  the  public  spirit  of 
her  pontiffs^,  and  one  (the  Marcia)  has  been  added 
to  her  resources  in  our  own  days  by  the  enterprise 
of  a  joint-stock  company ;  but  the  Rome  of  the 
Middle  Ages  was  practically,  like  the  Eome  of 
the  Kings,  dependent  for  her  water  on  a  few  wells 
and  cisterns  and  on  the  mud-burdened  Tiber. 
The  Bath  with  all  its  sinful  luxuriousness,  which 
brought  it  under  the  ban  of  philosophers  and 
churchmen,  but  also  with  all  its  favouring  in- 
fluences on  health,  on  refinement,  even  on  clear 
and  logical  thought,  the  Bath  which  the  eleven 
aqueducts  of  Eome  had  once  replenished  for  a 
whole  people,  now  became  a  forgotten  dream  of 
the  past.  As  we  look  onward  from  the  sixth 
century  the  Eomans  of  the  centuries   before   us 

^  On  an  arch  of  the  Trajana  at  Vicarello — 


'Malissimo  copiato'  says  Lanciani  (p.  i66),  to  whom  I  owe  this 

2  The    Aqua    Virgo   (perhaps  only   transiently  lost),   Aqua 
Paola  (Trajana),  and  Aqua  Felice  (Alexandrina). 

VOL.  IV.  N 

178  The  Cutting  of  the  Aqueducts. 

BooKV.  will  be  in  some  respects  a  better  people  than  their 

. L_l-  ancestors,  more  devout,  less  arrogant,  perhaps  less 

licentious,  but  they  will  not  be  so  well-washed 
a  people.  And  the  sight  of  Eome,  holy  but  dirty, 
will  exert  a  very  different  and  far  less  civilising 
influence  on  the  nations  beyond  the  Alps  who 
come  to  worship  at  her  shrines  than  would  have 
been  exerted  by  a  Kome,  Christian  indeed,  but 
also  rejoicing  in  the  undiminished  treasures  of  her 
artificial  streams.  Should  an  author  ever  arise 
who  shall  condescend  to  take  the  History  of 
Personal  Cleanliness  for  his  theme  (and  historians 
have  sometimes  chosen  subjects  of  less  interest 
for  humanity  than  this),  he  will  find  that  one  of 
the  darkest  days  in  his  story  is  the  day  when 
the  Gothic  warriors  of  Witigis  ruined  the  aque- 
ducts of  Eome. 








on  the 

A  mount  as 


at  the 



to  be  ac- 
counted for. 





Appia     .     . 






Anio  Vetus . 






Marcia    .     . 






Tepula    .     . 












Virgo      .     . 


2504  1 



Alsietina     . 






Claudia .     . 






Anio  Novus 












+  446" 


^  Measured  near  the  city,  at  seventh  milestone. 
^256  given  to  Anio  Novus  and  Tepula.  ^190  given  to  Tepula. 


Outside  the  City. 

Inside  the  City. 










C  sesar. 








Appia     .     . 
tAnio  Vetus  . 
fMarcia   .     . 

Tepula    .     . 
tJulia      .     . 

Virgo     .     . 

tClaudia  . 
tAnio  Novus 



'       254^ 






















*  This  does  not  correspond  with  the  figures  given  above  (*  *). 

t  In  the  lines  thus  marked,  the  conjectural  alterations  of  the  text  in  Dederich's 

edition  (Leipsic,  1855)  have  been  adopted  in  order  to  make  the  numbers  fit. 

N  2 


Note  A, 

Summary: — Caesar 1718 


Private  persons 




Public  "Works 4443 


All  the  above  measurements  are  in  quhiariae.  It  is 
calculated  that  each  quinaria  represents  a  daily  supply 
of  63-18  cubic  metres,  or  13,906  gallons. 





Tanks  (Lacus). 


Appia    .     . 









Anio  Vet  us 










55  0 

Marcia  .     . 










Tepula   .     . 













Julia      .     . 








Virgo     .     . 








Alsietina     . 









Claudia .     .) 


















The  Roman  numerals  in  the  inner  columns  show  the 
number  of  public  institutions  on  which  the  quinariae  of 
water  detailed  in  the  other  columns  were  bestowed.  Add- 
ing these  together  we  get — 19  Castra,  95  Opera  Publica, 
39  Munera,  and  591  Lacus.  It  is  certain,  however,  that 
we  ought  not  thus  to  add  them  except  to  get  a  more 
approximate  estimate  of  their  number,  as  the  same  camp 
or  fountain  was,  perhaps  invariably,  fed  by  two  or  even 

Schedules  of  Frontinus,  181 

three  aqueducts,  that  it  might  not  be  dependent  on  one 
single  source  of  supply. 

The  camps  are  probably  chiefly  the  great  Castra  Prae- 
toria,  but  also  the  smaller  camps  of  the  cohortes  vigihm 
and  other  troops  quartered  in  the  city. 

The  Oj)era  Puhlica  are,  partly  at  least,  the  great  sheets 
of  water  on  which  mock  sea-fights  and  other  spectacles 
were  exhibited.  We  get  a  hint  of  their  character 
from  the  words  of  Frontinus,  who  says  that  of  the  1380 
qiiinariae  contributed  by  the  Aqua  Virgo  to  public  works 
460  went  '  to  the  Euripus  alone,  to  which  it  gave  its  own 
name'  of  Virgo.  The  name  Euripus,  from  the  channel 
which  separates  Euboea  from  the  mainland  of  Greece,  was 
given  to  any  great  artificial  channel,  particularly  (as  it 
seems)  to  a  large  trench  which  was  dug  along  the  outer 
circumference  of  the  Circus  Maximus,  and  filled  with 

The  translation  of  Munera  and  Lacus  is  by  no  means 
certain.  It  is  clear  from  the  Table  that  the  former  were 
much  larger  than  the  latter — an  average  of  9  qumanae 
going  to  each  mumis  and  little  more  than  2  to  each  lacus, 
Jordan  (Topographic  der  Stadt  Rom_,  ii.  49-60)  discusses 
the  meaning  of  lacus  at  great  length,  and  seems  upon  the 
whole  to  incline  to  the  meaning  which  I  have  adopted 
above,  and  which  is  also  that  favoured  by  Lanciani  (p.  369). 

Evidently  at  the  time  of  Frontinus  the  term  munus  was 
a  lately  introduced  piece  of  fashionable  slang,  whatever 
was  the  thing  which  it  was  meant  to  describe.  He  says 
(iii)  that  he  will  state  '  quantum  publicis  operibus,  quan- 
tum muneribus — ita  enim  cultiores  apjpellant — quantum 
lacibus  . . .  detur.' 




Source : — 

BOOKV.       Procopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  i.  19-23. 

Ch.  7. 

537.  An  immediate  effect  of  the  cutting  off  of  the 

of  the^^^  water-supply  was  to  endanger  the  regular  delivery 
flour-mills.  ^£  ^^^  rations  of  flour  to  the  soldiers  and  the 
citizens.  Now  that  the  water  of  Trajan's  aque- 
duct no  longer  came  dashing  down  over  the 
Janiculan  hill,  the  corn-mills  which  it  had  been 
wont  to  drive  were  silent.  An  obvious  suggestion 
would  have  been  to  use  beasts  of  burden  to  supply 
the  needed  power.  But  unfortunately,  in  order  to 
effect  the  necessary  economy  of  provisions,  all  beasts 
of  burden,  except  the  horses  needed  for  warlike 
The  water-  purposcs,  had  been  slain.    Therefore,  with  his  usual 

mills  on  .  t->    i  •         •  •        i 

the  Tiber,  fertility  of  rcsourco,  Belisarius  contrived  to  make 
water  take  the  place  of  water.  Stretching  ropes 
across  the  Tiber  from  bank  to  bank  near  the 
Julian  Bridge  \  he  moored  two  skiffs  side  by  side 
at  a  distance  of  two  feet  apart,  placed  his  mill- 

^  Now  the  Ponte  S.  Angelo.  This  is  probably  what  Pro- 
copius means  by  ri^s  ye(f)vpas  rjs  apri  rrpos  r«  Trepi^oXco  ovarjs 

The   Water-mills  of  Belisaj^ius.  183 

stones  on  board  and  hung  his  water-wheel  between  book  v. 
the  skiffs,  where  the  current  of  the  river  narrowed       "'  ^' . 
by   the.  interposition    of  the   bridge    was    strong      ^^^' 
enough  to  turn  it  and  move  the  machinery  ^.     The 
Goths  heard  of  this  contrivance  from  the  deserters 
who  still  came  over  to  them,  and  succeeded  in 
breaking  the  water-wheels  by  throwing  huge  logs, 
and  even  the  carcases  of  slain  Eomans,  into  the 
stream.     Belisarius  however  by  fastening  to  the  The  iron 
bridge  strong  iron  chains   which  stretched  across 
the  river,  not  only  preserved  his  water-mills  from 
these  obstructions,  but  also,  which  was  more  im- 
portant, guarded  the    city  against  the  peril  of  a 
sudden   attack   by  the  boats'   crews    of  the    bar- 
barians.    The  water-mills   of  the  Tiber  thus  in- 
vented by  Belisarius  continued  to  be  used  in  Kome 
down  to  our   own    day,  but  are  now  apparently 
all  superseded  by  mills  driven  by  steam. 

The  watchful  care  of  Belisarius  did  not  even  The  cio- 
neglect  to  take  into  consideration  the  cloacae,  the 
great  sewers,  of  Rome  ;  but  as  the  mouths  of  all 
of  them  opened  into  the  Tiber,  in  that  part  of  it 
which  was  within  the  circuit  of  the  walls,  no 
special  provision  against  a  hostile  surprise  appeared 
to  be  necessary  in  this  quarter. 

Just  at  this  time,  when  men's  minds  were  onomenof 
the  stretch,  waiting  for  the  mighty  duel  to  begin,  nite  boys. 

^  I  think  there  was  a  whole  string  of  these  water-mills  one 
behind  another,  but  the  language  of  Procopius  is  not  very  clear  : 
'E7reKeti/a  8e  oXXa?  re  aKarov^  e\ofxevas  tcov  liei  oTTiaOev  Kara  \6yov 
eSfV/xeuf,  Koi  ras  firj^avas  rpoTTco  rw  avra  eVi  TrKelaTov  eVe/3aXe. 

184  The  Gothic  Assault. 

BooKV,  came  the  tidings  of  an  incident,  trifling  and  yet 
^"'  ^'  tragical,  which  the  superstitious  in  either  army 
537.  might  easily  regard  as  an  omen  of  success  to  the  one 
and  of  disaster  to  the  other.  Some  Samnite  lads, 
keeping  their  sheep  on  the  slopes  of  the  Apennines, 
beguiled  the  tedium  of  their  occupation  by  choosing 
out  two  of  their  sturdiest,  naming  one  Witigis 
and  the  other  Belisarius,  and  setting  them  to 
wrestle  for  the  victory.  As  Fate  would  have  it, 
Witigis  was  thrown.  Then  said  the  boys  in  sport, 
'Witigis  shall  be  hanged.'  They  had  tied  him 
up  to  a  tree,  meaning  to  cut  him  down  again 
before  he  had  received  any  serious  harm,  when 
suddenly  a  wolf  from  the  mountains  was  upon 
them  and  they  fled.  The  poor  boy,  abandoned 
to  his  fate,  died  in  agony.  But  when  the  story 
was  noised  abroad  through  Samnium,  people  read 
in  it  an  indication  of  the  predestined  victory  of 
Belisarius,  and  took  no  steps  for  the  punishment 
of  the  youthful  executioners. 

Discontent      Still,  notwithstanding  omens  and  auguries,  the 

in  Kome.         .   .  n   -r\  i  •    p     n        •  i 

Citizens  01  Eome  were  by  no  means  satisfied  with 
the  turn  that  things  were  taking.  With  their 
food  doled  out  to  them  in  strict  daily  rations, 
w^ith  only  water  enough  for  drinking  (supplied 
by  the  river  and  the  wells),  and  none  whatever 
for  the  sadly  remembered  delights  of  the  Bath, 
unwashed  and  short  of  sleep  (since  to  each  man 
his  turn  for  sentry  duty  at  night  seemed  con- 
stantly recurring)  ;  above  all,  with  the  depressing 
feeling  that  all  these  sacrifices  were  in  vain,  and 

Gothic  Embassy.  185 

that  those  myriads  of  the  Goths  whom  they  saw  book  v. 
burning  their  villas    and    ravaging   the    pleasant       "' 
places  all  around  the  city  mud  soon  be  within      ^'^^■ 
its  walls,  they  began  to  murmur  against  Belisarius. 
Speeches  were  made  in  the  Senate  \  not  loud  but 
full  of  angry   feeling,   against   the   general   who 
had  ventured  to  hold  Eome  with  such  an  utterly 
inadequate  force,  and  who  was  bringing  the  loyal 
subjects  of  the  Emperor,  guiltless  of  any  wrong, 
into  such  extremity  of  peril  by  his  rashness. 

Witigis,  who   was  informed   by   the    deserters  Gothic 

p       1  •  1  r»     p     T  •     1  •  embassy. 

of  this  change  of  feeling,  tried  to  turn  it  to 
account  by  sending  an  embassy  to  Belisarius, 
headed  by  a  certain  Albes.     In  the  presence   of  Speech  of 


the  Senate  and  the  Generals,  Albes  delivered  an 
harangue  in  which,  not  uncourteously,  he  suggested 
to  Belisarius  that  courage  was  one  thing  and 
rashness  another.  'If  it  is  courage  that  has 
brought  you  here,  look  forth  from  the  walls, 
survey  the  vast  multitude  of  the  Goths.  You 
will  have  need  of  all  your  courage  in  dealing  with 
that  mighty  host.  But  if  you  now  feel  that  it 
was  mere  rashness  that  has  led  you  hither,  and 
^if  at  the  same  time  you  are  awakened  to  the 
thought  of  all  the  miseries  which  you  are  in- 
flicting on  the  Eomans  by  your  opposition  to  their 
lawful  ruler,  we  come  to  offer  you  one  more 
opportunity   of  repentance.     The   Romans    lived 

*  Oi  iK  ^ovXrjs  rjv  avyKXriTou  KoXovai  says  Procopius.  It  is  strange 
that  he  should  explain  one  Greek  word  by  another,  and  that 
other  no  real  translation  of  Senatus, 

186  The  Gothic  Assault, 

BOOK  V.  in  all  comfort  and  freedom  under  the  rule  of  the 
"'  ^'  good  King  Theodoric.  Now,  through  your  unde- 
^^^'  sired  interposition,  they  are  suffering  the  extremity 
of  misery,  and  their  King,  the  King  both  of  Goths 
and  Italians^,  is  obliged  to  encamp  outside  the 
walls,  and  practise  all  the  cruel  acts  of  war  against 
the  people  whom  he  loves.  We  call  upon  you 
therefore  to  evacuate  the  city  of  Rome ;  but  as  it 
is  not  our  wish  to  trample  on  the  fallen  we  concede 
to  you  the  liberty  of  marching  forth  unmolested 
and  of  taking  with  you  all  your  possessions/ 

The  spirit  of  the  Gothic  King  was  a  good  deal 
changed  by  the  events  of  the  last  few  days.  On 
his  march  to  Eome  his  only  fear  had  been  lest 
Beli  sarins  should  escape  his  dreadful  vengeance. 
Now  he  was  willing  to  offer  him  all  the  honours 
of  war  if  only  he  would  march  out  of  the  city 
which  he  ought  never  to  have  been  allowed  to 
enter.  It  may  be  doubted  whether  Witigis  was 
wise  in  showing  so  manifestly  his  desire  for  the 
departure  of  the  imperial  General.  The  Senate, 
as  we  know,  had  begun  to  take  a  very  gloomy 
view  of  the  prospects  of  the  defence.  Such  a 
speech  as  that  of  Albes  would  tend  to  reassure 
many  a  waverer,  by  showing  him  that  the  Goths, 
in  their  secret  hearts,  felt  no  great  confidence  of 

Belisarius  in  reply  said,  that  the  prudence  or 

^  Mj^Se  Tw  TotOmv  t€  Koi  ^ItoKicotcov  decmoTr}  i^nvohoiv  XcrTacro. 
I  must  confess  that  I  doubt  whether  a  Gothic  orator  really 
spoke  of  Witigis  as  bea-noTr^s  of  the  Goths. 

Gothic  Embassy.  187 

imprudence  of  his  plan  of  campaign  was  his  own  book  v. 

•  Or    7 

affair,  and  he  did  not  intend  to  take  the  advice  of L_:_. 

Witigis  concerning  it.  *  But  I  say  to  you  that -^^^^^^^'^ 
the  time  will  come  when  you  shall  long  to  hide  Beiisarius. 
your  heads  under  the  thorns  of  the  Campagna 
and  shall  not  be  able  to  do  so.  When  we  took 
Rome  we  laid  hands  on  no  alien  possession,  but 
only  undid  that  work  of  violence  by  which  you 
seized  upon  a  city  to  which  you  had  no  claim. 
If  any  one  of  you  fancies  that  he  is  going  to  enter 
Rome  without  a  struggle  he  is  mistaken.  While 
Belisarius  lives  he  will  never  quit  his  hold  of 
this  city.' 

So  spake  Belisarius.  The  Roman  Senators  sat 
mute  and  trembling,  not  daring  to  echo  the  proud 
words  of  the  General,  nor  to  repel  the  accusations 
of  the  ambassadors  upbraiding  them  with  their 
treachery  and  ingratitude.  Only  Fidelius,  afore- Answer  of 
time  Quaestor  under  Athalaric^  and  now  Prse- the  Goths. 
torian  Prefect  under  Belisarius,  answered  his  late 
lords  with  words  of  scorn  and  banter.  The  am- 
bassadors on  their  return  to  the  camp  were  eagerly 
questioned  by  Witigis,  Avhat  manner  of  man 
Belisarius  was,  and  how  he  received  the  proposal 
for  an  evacuation  of  the  city.  To  which  they 
replied  that  he  seemed  to  be  the  last  man  in  the 
world  to  be  frightened  by  mere  words.  Accord- 
ingly, Witigis  set  about  the  task  of  convincing 
him  by  more  efficacious  arguments. 

Having  counted  the  courses  of  masonry  in  the 
^  See  p.  94. 

188  The  Gothic  Assault. 

BOOKv.  walls,  and  thus  formed  as  accurate  an   estimate 

^^^'  ^'     as  possible  of  their  height,  the  Goths  constructed 
^^^'      several  wooden  towers  of  the  same  heie-ht  as  the 

Gothic  pre-  ^  *^ 

parations    walls,  ruBuin^  ou  whccls  placcd  under  their  four 

for  assault. 

Moveable  comcrs,  and  with  ropes  fastened  to  them,  so  that 

towers.      they  could  be  drawn  by  oxen.     On  the  highest 

platform  of  the  towers  were  ladders,  which  could 

be  used  if  necessary  to  scale  the  battlements. 

Battering-       In  addition  to  the  towers  the  Goths  also  made 

rams.  i  •    i        i  •  -r*  •  • 

ready  eight  battering-rams.  rrocopius  gives  us 
a  detailed  description  of  this  engine  of  war,  Roman, 
as  it  is  generally  supposed,  in  its  origin,  but  now 
borrowed  from  the    Romans   by  the    barbarians  \ 

The  batter-      ^  Procopius's  description,  which  adds  a  few  particulars  to  the 

ing-ram  as  well-known   sketch  in  Josephus  (De  Bellis  Judaeoriim,  iii.  7. 

described  \    ■  n  ■^^ 

by  Proco-     I9)>  IS  as  lollows  : — 

pius.  '  Four  upright  pillars  of  equal  height  are  erected  opposite  to 

one  another.  Eight  beams  are  inserted  into  these  pillars  at 
right  angles,  four  above  and  four  at  the  base.  Having  thus  put 
together  the  frame  of  a  four-sided  hut  they  surround  it  on  all 
sides  with  a  covering  of  hides  to  serve  instead  of  walls,  in  order 
that  the  machine  may  be  light  for  those  who  have  to  draw  it 
and  at  the  same  time  that  the  men  inside  may  be  as  little  as  pos- 
sible liable  to  be  hit  by  the  darts  of  the  enemy.  Within,  and  as 
much  as  possible  in  the  middle  of  the  enclosure,  another  beam 
crosswise  is  hung  by  loose  chains  from  the  top  of  the  machine. 
The  end,  which  is  shod  with  iron,  is  either  sharp  like  the  point 
of  an  arrow  or  four-square  like  an  anvil.  The  whole  machine 
runs  on  four  wheels,  one  under  each  of  the  four  pillars  ;  and  not 
less  than  fifty  men  move  it  from  within.  When  they  have  got 
it  close  up  to  the  wall,  by  turning  some  sort  of  machinery  they 
draw  back  the  beam  of  which  I  spoke  and  again  with  great  force 
thrust  it  against  the  wall.  By  its  repeated  strokes  it  can  easily 
shatter  and  destroy  whatever  it  meets  with,  and  hence  its  name, 
because  the  stroke  of  this  beam  is  like  that  of  a  ram  butting  at 
its  fellows.     Such  is  the  fashion  of  the  rams  used  by  besiegers.' 

Offensive  and  defensive  Preparations.       189 

They   also   prepared   fascines,   of  the   boughs    of  book  v. 
trees  and  the  reeds  of  the  Campagna,  which  they        ' 

could  throw  into  the  fosse,  so  filling  it   up   and  ^^l^^^^^ 
preparing  the  way  for  the  advance  of  their  warlike 

On  his  side  Belisarius  armed  the  towers  and  Counter 
battlements  with  a  plenteous  supply  of  the   de-  tions  of 

„.  .  n      -i  'iiT^v*  1         Belisarius. 

tensive  engines    oi   the  period,  the    Batista,  that  Baiistae. 
magnified  bow,  worked  by  machinery,  which  shot 
a  short  square  arrow  twice   the   distance   of   an 
ordinary  bow-shot  and  with  such  force  as  to  break 
trees  or  stones  ^  ;   and  the    Onager  or  Wild  Ass,  Onager. 
which  was  a  similarly  magnified  sling.     Each  gate 
he  obstructed  with  a   machine   called   a   Liqnis,  Lupus. 
which    seems ^    from   the    somewhat    obscure    de- 
scription of  Procopius,  to  have  been    a   kind   of 
double  portcullis,  worked  both  from    above   and 
below,  and  ready  to  close   its    terrible    wolf-jaws 
upon  any  enemy  who  should  venture  within  reach 
of  its  fangs  ^. 

The  s;eneral  disposition  of  the  army  of  Beli-  Arrange- 

°    .  -^  .  "^  mentofthe 

sarins,  which  amounted  in  all  to  but  5000  men,  defending 
was  the  same  as  that   mentioned   in    a   previous 

chapter  ^     Bessas  the  imperialist  Ostrogoth,  and 


^  The  arrow  (or  rather  bolt)  of  the  Balista  was  half  the 
length  and  four  times  the  width  of  an  ordinary  arrow. 

^  Procopius  gives  a  minute  (but  not  very  clear)  description 
of  the  Balista,  the  Wild  Ass,  and  the  Wolf,  which  were  em- 
ployed by  Belisarius.  It  is  not  easy  to  understand  his  object 
in  thus  minutely  describing  objects  with  which  every  soldier 
must  have  been  familiar. 

'  P.  148. 


190  The  Gothic  Assault. 

BOOK  V.  Peranius  the  Iberian  prince  from  the  shores  of 

^^•^-     the  Caspian,  commanded  at  the  great  Prsenestine 

^2^'      Gate.     At  the  Salarian  and  Pincian  Gates  Beh- 

PortaPrae-  p      i  r*     i 

nestina.  sarius  himself  took  charge  of  the  hght ;  at  the 
iaria\nd  Flaminian,  Ursicinus,  who  had  under  him  a  de- 
Pinciana.    ^^^^^^^^  ^f  infantry  known  as  '  The  Emperor  s 

Porta  Fla-  -^  ,  , 

minia.  Own\'  They  had,  however,  little  to  do  in  the 
battle  which  is  about  to  be  described,  as  the 
Flaminian  Gate  stood  on  a  precipitous  piece  of 
ground  and  was  too  difficult  of  access  for  the 
Goths  to  assault  it^. 

Muro  More  astonishing  was  it  to  Procopius  that  the 

wall  a  little  to  the  east  of  the  Flaminian  Gate 
should  also  have  been  left  unassaulted  by  the 
Goths.  Here,  to  this  day,  notwithstanding  some 
lamentable  and  perfectly  unnecessary 'restorations' 
of  recent  years,  may  be  seen  some  portions  of 
the  Muro  Torto,  a  twisted,  bulging,  overhanging 
mass  of  oj)us  reticulatum  ^.  It  looks  as  if  it  might 
fall  to  morrow  (and  so,  as  we  shall  see,  thought 
Belisarius),  but  it  has  stood  in  its  present  state 
for  eighteen  centuries.  But  the  story  of  this  piece 
of  waU  and  the  superstitions  connected  with    it 

^   Oi     P^yes   ivravOa   ire^tKov   reXos  eCJivXacrcrov   fPrOC.  i.  23).      No 

doubt  these  are  the  same  as  the  Regii,  one  of  the  seventeen 
*  Auxilia  Palatina '  under  the  command  of  the  Magister  Militum 
Praesentalis,  mentioned  in  the  Notitia  Orientis,  cap.  v. 

^  We  now  know  certainly  that  the  Porta  del  Popolo  stands 
on  the  very  same  site  as  the  Porta  Flaminia,  and  we  can  only  say 
that  the  configuration  of  the  ground  outside  it,  which  is  now 
comparatively  level,  must  have  changed  considerably  since  the 
sixth  century. 

^  Not  later  therefore  than  the  first  century  A.  d. 



[Betiveoi.  pages  igo,  191 

The  Muro  Torto. 

From  an  Engraving  in  Ricciardelli's  'Vedute  delle  Porte  e  Mura  di  Roma, 
published  1832. 


The  Micro   Tor  to.  191 

is  so  curious  that  Procopius  must  tell  it  in  his  bookv 

Ch  7 

own  words  : —  _I- 

'  Between  the  Flaminian  Gate  and  the  gate-let 
next  in  order  on  the  right  hand,  which  is  called  the 
Pincian,  a  part  of  the  wall  split  asunder  long  ago  of 
its  own  accord.  The  cleft  however  did  not  reach  to 
the  ground,  but  only  about  half-way  down.  Thus  it 
did  not  fall,  nor  receive  any  further  damage,  but  it 
so  leaned  over  in  both  directions  that  one  part  seems 
within,  the  other  without  the  rest  of  the  enclosure. 
From  this  circumstance  the  Romans  have  from 
of  old  called  that  part  of  the  wall,  in  their  own 
language,  Murus  Ruj^his,  Now  when  Be li sarins 
was  at  the  first  minded  to  pull  down  this  bit  and 
build  it  up  again,  the  Romans  stopped  him, 
assuring  him  that  Peter  (the  Apostle  whom  they 
venerate  and  admire  above  all  others)  had  pro- 
mised that  he  would  care  for  the  defence  of  their 
city  at  that  points  And  things  turned  out  in 
this  quarter  exactly  as  they  had  expected ;  for 
neither  on  the  day  of  the  first  assault,  nor  during 
any  subsequent  part  of  the  siege,  did  the  enemy 
approach  this  portion  of  the  wall  in  force,  or  cause 
any  tumult  there.  We  often  wondered  that  in 
all  the  assaults  and  midnight  surprises  of  the 
enemy,  this  part  of  the  fortifications  never  seemed 
to  come  into  the  remembrance  either  of  besiegers 
or  besieged.     For  this  reason  no  one  hath  since 

^  There  was  a  legend  (for  which  I  cannot  quote  the  autho- 
rity) that  the  wall  had  first  lost  its  perpendicular  form  by 
bowing  towards  St.  Peter  when  he  was  led  out  to  execution. 

192  The  Gothic  Assault, 

BOOKv.  attempted  to  rebuild  it,  but  the  wall  remains  to 
^^•^'     this  day  cleft  in  two.     So  much  for  the  Murus 
^^^'      Bu^tus.' 

The  reader  will  probably  feel,  in  perusing  this 
passage,  that  Procopius  himself,  though  rather  a 
Theist  than  a  Christian,  and  not  always  constant 
even  to  Theism,  was  puzzled  whether  to  accept  or 
reject  the  legend  of  St.  Peter's  guardianship  of 
the  Muro  Torto.  He  shows  the  same  attitude  of 
suspended  belief  towards  the  Sibylline  Oracles 
and  many  other  heathen  marvels  which  are  re- 
corded in  his  pages. 
Pons  Constantine,  removed    by    Belisarius    from   the 

Aelius.  /  -^^ 

Tomb  of  Porta  Flaminia,  was  placed  in  charge  of  the  river- 
^  "^"'    side  wall  and  the  Bridge  and  Tomb  of  Hadrian. 

Porta  Pan-  Paulus  Commanded  at  the  Pancratian  Gate  on  the 
other  side  of  the  Tiber  :  but  here  too,  on  account 
of  the  difficulty  of  the  ground,  the  Goths  at- 
tempted nothing  worthy  of  note.  A  striking 
contrast  this  to  one  of  the  very  last  sieges  of  Eome, 
that  under  General  Oudinot  in  1849,  when  the 
Porta  S.  Pancrazio  was  riddled  with  hostile  bullets. 
In  consequence  of  the  frequent  skirmishes  in  that 
quarter  the  whole  Janiculum  was  then  covered 
with  mounds,  now  grass-grown  and  peaceful- 
looking,  under  which  French  and  Italian  soldiers, 
slain  in  those  dreary  days,  slumber  side  by  side. 

The  assault      The  preparations  of  the  Goths  being  completed, 

about'aist  on  the  eighteenth  day  of  the  siege,   at   sunrise, 

ar.  537-  ^-^ej  began  the  assault.    With  dismay  the  Romans, 

clustered  on  the  walls,  beheld  the  immense  masses 

The  Gothic  Towers  made  useless,  193 

of  men  converging  to  the  City,  the  rams,  the  towers  book  v. 

drawn  by  oxen  moving  slowly  towards  them.  They  L_ 

beheld  the  sight  with  dismay,  but  a  smile  of  calm  terror  of 
scorn  curved  the  lips  of  Belisarius.     The  Eomans  *^®  ^^- 

^  mans. 

could  not  bear  to  see  him  thus  trifling  as  they  caimness 
thought  in  the  extremity  of  their  danger ;  im-  rius.^  ^^^ 
plored  him  to  use  the  balistae  on  the  walls  before 
the  enemy  came  any  nearer ;  called  him  shameless 
and  incompetent  when  he  refused :  but  still  Beli- 
sarius waited  arid  still  he  smiled.  At  length,  when  First  blood 
the  Goths  were  now  close  to  the  edge  of  the  fosse, 
lie  drew  his  bow  and  shot  one  of  their  leaders, 
armed  with  breastplate  and  mail,  through  the 
neck.  The  chief  fell  dead,  and  a  roar  of  applause 
at  the  fortunate  omen  rose  from  the  Koman  ranks. 
Again  he  bent  his  bow  and  again  a  Gothic  noble 
fell,  whereat  another  shout  of  applause  from  the 
walls  rent  the  air.  Then  Belisarius  gave  all  his 
soldiers  the  signal  to  discharge  their  arrows, 
ordering  those  immediately  around  him  to  leave 
the  men  untouched  and  to  aim  all  their  shafts 
at  the  oxen.     In  a  few  minutes  the  milk-white  The  towers 

T^ ,  •  n     T    •  1     1  r»  •        made  use- 

Ji^trurian  oxen  were  all  slam,  and  then  ot  necessity  less. 
the  towers,  the  rams,  all  the  engines  of  war 
remained  immovable  at  the  edge  of  the  fosse, 
useless  for  attack,  only  a  hindrance  to  the  as- 
saulting host.  So  close  to  the  walls,  it  was 
impossible  for  the  Goths  to  bring  up  other  beasts 
of  burden,  or  to  devise  any  means  to  repair  the 
disaster.  Then  men  understood  the  reason  of 
the  smile  of  Belisarius,  who  was  amused  at  the 

VOL.  IV.  O 

194  The  Gothic  Assault, 

BOOKV.  simplicity  of  the  barbarians  in  thinking  that  he 

°'        would  allow  them  to  drive  their  oxen  close  up 

^^^'      under  his  battlements.     Then  they  recognised  his 

wisdom  in  postponing  the  reply  from  the  balistae 

till  the  Goths  had  come  so  near  that  their  disaster 

was  irreparable. 

Change  in       The  towcrs  and  the  rams  had  apparently  been 

the  Gothic   .  ,  i  r  ^ 

tactics.  intended  specially  for  that  part  of  the  wall  close 
to  the  Pincian  Gate.  Foiled  in  this  endeavour, 
Witigis  drew  back  his  men  a  little  distance  from 
the  fosse,  formed  them  into  deep  columns,  and 
ordered  them  not  to  attempt  any  farther  assault 
on  that  part  of  the  walls,  but  so  to  harass  the 
troops  by  incessant  discharges  of  missile  weapons 
as  to  prevent  Belisarius  from  giving  any  assistance 
to  the  other  points  which  he  meant  to  assail,  and 
which  were  especially  the  Porta  Praenestina  and 
the  Porta  Aurelia. 

Fighting         During  this  time  sharp  fighting  was  going  on 

at  Porta 

Saiaria.  at  the  othcr  gate  which  was  under  the  immediate 
command  of  Belisarius,  the  Porta  Saiaria.  Here  for 
a  little  while  the  barbarians  seemed  to  be  getting 
the  advantage.  A  long-limbed  Goth,  one  of  their 
nobles  and  renowned  for  his  prowess  in  war,  armed 
(as  perhaps  their  common  soldiers  were  not)  with 
helmet  and  breastplate,  left  the  ranks  of  his 
comrades  and  swung  himself  up  into  a  tree  from 
which  he  was  able  to  discharge  frequent  and 
deadly  missiles  at  the  defenders  of  the  battlements. 
At  length,  however,  one  of  the  balistae  worked 
by  the  soldiers  in  the  tower  on  the  left  of  the 



!  ^ 

Attack  on  the  Porta  Praenestina.         195 
gateway,  more  by  good  fortune  than   good   aim,  book  v. 

....  .  Ch  7 

succeeded  in  striking  him.     The  bolt  went  right  '__1_ 

through  the  warrior's  body  and  half  through  the  ^^^' 
tree :  thus  pinned  to  the  tree-trunk  he  was 
left  dangling  between  earth  and  heaven.  At 
this  sight  a  chill  fear  ran  through  the  Gothic 
ranks,  and  withdrawing  themselves  out  of  the 
range  of  the  balistae  they  gave  no  more  trouble 
to  the  defenders  of  the  Salarian  Gate. 

The  weisrht  of  the  Gothic  assault  was  directed  Attack  on 

.  ^  Porta 

against  the  Praenestme  Gate,  the  modern  Porta  Praenes- 
Maggiore.  Here  they  collected  a  number  of  their  Magg-ore). 
engines  of  attack,  towers,  battering-rams,  and 
ladders  :  and  here  both  the  hoped-for  absence 
of  the  great  general  and  the  dilapidated  state 
of  the  wall  inspired  some  reasonable  hope  of 
victory.  The  neighbourhood  of  the  Porta  Maggiore  Descrip- 

.  .  .  tionofthe 

IS  to  this  day  one  of  the  most  interesting  portions  Porta 
of  the  wall  of  Eome.  Here  you  see  the  two 
stately  arches  which  spanned  the  diverging  roads 
to  Labicum  and  Praeneste.  Above  them  you  read 
the  clear,  boldly-carved  inscriptions  which  record 
the  constructions  of  Claudius,  and  the  restorations 
of  Vespasian  and  Titus.  Between  them  stands 
the  curious  tomb  of  the  baker  Eurysaces,  which 
bore  the  sculptured  effigies  of  the  baker  and  his 
wife  and  a  quaint  inscription  (still  legible)  re- 
cording that  '  in  this  bread-basket'  the  fragments 
of  Marcus  Vergilius  Eurysaces  and  his  excellent 
wife  are  gathered  together.  High  above  run  the 
channels  of  the  Anio  Novus  and  the  Aqua  Claudia. 

0  2 

196  The  Gothic  Assault, 

BOOKV.  Hard  by  at  a  lower  level  the  Julia,  Tepula,  and 
^^''^'    Marcia,  and  yet  lower  the  Anio  Vetus  enter  the 
^'^^'      city.     This  intersection  of  the  aqueducts  gave  the 
Porta  Praenestina  a  strength  peculiar  to  itself,  and 
caused  it  to  take  an  important  place  in  the  forti- 
fications of  the  later  emperors. 
Diflferent        When  the  Goths  assaulted  Eome  the  Praenestine 

aspect  at 

the  time  of  and  Labicau  Gates  did  not  show  the  same  fair 

the  siege,  .  I'li  ti  i* 

proportions  which  they  displayed  m  the  days 
of  Claudius,  and  which  they  have  recovered  by 
the  judicious  restoration  effected  in  1838.  By  the 
operations  of  the  military  engineers  of  Aurelian  and 
Honorius^  the  Labican  Gate^  was  closed  and  the 
usual  round  towers  ^  were  erected,  flanking  the  gate, 
which  enclosed  and  concealed  from  view  till  our 
own  times  the  Tomb  of  Eurysaces.  The  high  line 
of  the  aqueduct  wall  still  remained  (as  it  does  to 
this  day),  but  it  had  fallen  much  out  of  repair, 
and  the  real  line  of  defence  seems  to  have  been 
a  lower  w^all  running  parallel  to  it  at  a  distance 
of  less  than  100  yards  and  skirting  the  line  of 

^  Over  the  Praenestine  Gate,  as  well  as  over  the  Tiburtine 
and  the  Portuensian  Gates,  ran  an  inscription  recording  the 
restoration  of  the  walls,  gates,  and  towers  of  the  city  by  the 
most  unconquered  Emperors  Arcadius  and  Honorius,  and  the 
clearing  away  of  immense  heaps  of  rubbish  at  the  suggestion  of 
the  illustrious  Count  Stilicho. 

^  That  on  the  south  side.  It  is  now  open  and  the  Prse- 
nestine  closed. 

^  I  say  towers  in  the  plural,  as  there  can  be  no  doubt  there 
would  be  at  least  two,  though  only  one  is  shown  in  Eicciar- 
delli's  picture  (published  1832).  The  square  towers  there 
depicted  are  probably  medieval :  and  it  is  evident  that  the 
Gate  was  a  good  deal  altered  during  the  Middle  Ages. 

198  The  Gothic  Assatdt, 

BOOK  V.  the  Via  Labicana.   Between  these  two  walls,  which 

^^'^'     ran  thus  side  by  side  for  about  500  yards,  a  strip 

^,  ^ll:      of  land  was  enclosed  which  was  used  in  old  days 

The  Viva-  ^  _  •^ 

"un^-  as  a  menagerie  for  the  wild  beasts  that  were 
about  to  be  employed  in  the  shows  of  the  amphi- 
theatre\  To  use  the  words  of  Procopius,  'It 
chanced  that  the  [true]  wall  in  that  quarter  had 

Where  was  ^  After  very  careful  consideration  I  have  come  to  the  con- 
the  Viva-  elusion  that  Oanina  and  the  majority  of  Eoman  topographers 
are  right  in  placing  the  Vivarium  here^  between  the  main  wall 
and  the  Via  Labicana.  What  most  impresses  me  is  the  fact  that 
the  modern  road,  which  generally  keeps  close  under  the  wall, 
here  deviates  from  it  and  leaves  this  strip  of  land  unoccupied, 
for  no  particular  purpose  that  we  can  see,  since  even  now  it  has 
no  substantial  buildings  upon  it,  but  is  chiefly  used  for  stables 
and  cow-houses,  and  has  a  generally  squalid  and  deserted 
appearance.  All  this  looks  very  much  as  if  there  had  been  in 
old  days  some  kind  of  special  appropriation  of  the  ground  just 
outside  the  wall :  and  there  is  a  wall  skirting  the  road  now 
which,  though  itself  I  think  entirely  modern,  may  very  well  be 
built  on  ancient  foundations.  Mr.  Freeman's  suggestion  of  the 
Amphitheatrum  Castrense  (Brit.  Quart.  Review,  Ixxvi.  295)  does 
not  seem  to  me  quite  to  meet  the  necessities  of  the  case.  He 
himself  alludes  to  the  difference  between  an  amphitheatre  and 
a  place  for  storing  wild  beasts.  But  besides  this,  there  is  a 
very  decided  ascent  from  the  surrounding  country  towards  the 
Amphitheatrum  Castrense,  whereas  Procopius  lays  stress  on  the 
level  character  of  the  Vivarium  and  the  facility  of  approach  to 
it  {}\v  de  6  TavTT]  x^pos  o^iokos  KOixtbrj  kol  an  avrov  rais  €(p6dois  tcov 
TTpoo-iovTuip  iyK€LfX€vos).  Abovo  all,  tho  opeuiug  of  the  Prsenestine 
Gate  by  Belisarius  and  the  sudden  out-rush  of  the  Roman 
soldiers  on  the  rear  of  the  combatants  in  the  Vivarium  seems 
to  me  to  forbid  us  to  think  of  the  Amphitheatrum  Castrense  as 
the  scene  of  the  conflict,  and  almost  to  require  us  to  place  it 
between  the  Via  Labicana  and  the  Wall. 

Fulvius  (Antiquitates  Urbis,  fo.  vi)  placed  the  Vivarium 
near  to,  or  in,  the  Castra  Praetoria,  but  this  is  now  generally 
admitted  to  be  a  mistake. 

Attack  on  the   Vwarium.  199 

in  great  part  crumbled  away,   as  the  bricks   no  bookv 
longer  cohered  well  together.     But   another   low  — L__ 
wall  had  been   drawn  round   it   on   the   outside      ^^^' 
by  the  Komans  of  old,  not  for  safety's  sake,  for 
it  had  neither  towers   nor   battlements   nor   any 
other  of  the  appliances  for  defence,  but  on  account 
of  unseemly  luxury,  that  they  might  there  enclose 
in  cages  the  lions  and  other  beasts  [for  the  amphi- 
theatre].    For  which  cause  also  they  called  it  the 
Vivarium,  for   that   is   the   name   given   by   the 
Eomans  to  a  place  where  beasts  of  ungentle  nature 
are  wont  to  be  kept.' 

To  the  Vivarium  then  the  Goths  directed  the  Gothic 

•     ^  n      ^      •  1  i       i         i  attack  on 

weight  01  their  columns  and  the  larger  number  the  viva- 
of  their  engines  of  war.  The  objective  point  was 
well  chosen.  The  ground  was  level  and  afforded 
easy  access  to  the  assailants.  There  was,  it  is 
true,  a  double  wall,  but  the  inner  one,  as  the 
Goths  well  knew,  was  decayed  and  ruinous,  and 
the  outer  one,  though  in  better  preservation,  was 
low  and  undefended  by  towers  or  battlements. 
But  the  fatal  fault  of  the  attack  w^as  that  in  the 
narrow  space  between  the  two  walls  there  was 
no  room  for  the  barbarians  to  manoeuvre,  and  of 
this  fault  Belisarius  determined  to  avail  himself. 
By  this  time  he  had  hastened  with  the  most 
valiant  men  of  his  little  army  to  the  place,  but  he 
set  few  defenders  on  the  ramparts  and  offered  little 
opposition  to  the  strokes  with  which  the  Goths 
battered  a  breach  in  the  wall  of  the  Vivarium. 
When  this  was  accomplished,  when  he  saw  them 

200  The  Gothic  Assault, 

BOOKV.  pouring   in,    in   their   multitudes,  to   the   narrow 

^^•^'     enclosure,  he  sent  Cyprian  and  some  of  the  bravest 

^^^*      of  his  troops  to  man   the   real   wall,   formed   of 

The  Goths  ^ 

pass  the     ^ho  arcados  of  the   aqueducts.     The   unexpected 

first  wall.  ...  . 

strength  of  this  opposition  caused  some  dismay- 
in  the  hearts  of  the  Goths,  who  had  thought  their 
work  would  be  at  an  end  when  they  had  pene- 
trated within  the  first  enclosure.  Then,  when 
they  were  all  intent  upon  the  hand-to-hand 
encounter  with  the  defenders  of  the  wall,  Beli- 
sarius  ordered  the  Praenestine  Gate^  to  be  thrown 
The  Goths  opcu.  Behind  it  he  had  massed  his  troops  armed 
rear.  with  breast plate  and  sword  ;  no  javelin  or  pilum 

to  encumber  them  with  its  needless  aid.  They 
had  little  to  do  but  to  slay.  Panic  seized  the 
Goths,  who  sought  to  pour  out  of  the  Vivarium 
by  the  narrow  breach  which  they  had  effected, 
and  many  of  whom  were  trampled  to  death  by 
their  own  friends.  *  They  thought  no  more  of  valour 
but  of  flight,'  says  the  historian,  '  each  man  as 
best  he  could.'  The  Romans  followed  and  slew 
a  great  number  before  they  could  reach  the  distant 
Gothic  camp.  Belisarius  ordered  the  engines  of 
war  collected  by  the  assailants  to  be  burned,  and 
the  red  flames  shooting  up  into  the  evening  sky 
carried  terror  to  the  hearts  of  the  fugitives.     A 

^  Procopius  speaks  of  'gates'  in  the  plural.  There  can, 
I  think,  be  no  doubt  that  the  Porta  Labicana  had  been  closed 
ever  since  the  time  of  Honorius,  but  probably  the  remembrance 
of  the  two  gates  which  had  so  long  existed  here,  which  in  fact 
still  existed,  though  one  of  them  was  useless,  caused  the  Porta 
Praenestina  to  be  spoken  of  as  '  the  gates.' 

Attack  on  the  Porta  Aiirelia.  201 

similar  sally  from  the  Salarian  Gate   met   with  book  v. 

Ti  Ch.  7. 

nke  success.  

Meanwhile,  however,  on  the  north-west  of  Rome,  ^^^' 
at  the  Porta  Aurelia  (opposite  the  Castle  of  Sant'  the  Porta 
Angelo),  the  Goths  had  been  much  nearer  to 
achieving  victory.  Here,  as  has  been  said,  Con- 
stantino, withdrawn  for  this  purpose  from  the 
Flaminian  Gate,  had  charge  of  the  defence  of  the 
city.  Two  points  were  especially  threatened,  the 
Porta  Aurelia  and  the  stretch  of  river-side  wall 
between  it  and  the  Porta  Flaminia.  This  bit  of 
wall  had  been  left  somewhat  weak,  the  river 
seeming  here  sufficient  defence,  nor  did  Belisarius 
feel  himself  able  to  spare  a  large  number  of  men 
for  its  protection.  But  Constantino,  seeing  that 
the  enemy  were  preparing  to  cross  the  stream 
and  attack  at  this  place,  rushed  off  himself  to 
defend  it.  He  was  successful.  When  the  Goths 
found  that  their  landing  was  not  unopposed,  and 
that  even  this  piece  of  wall  had  defenders,  they 
lost  heart  and  gave  up  the  attempt.  These  move- 
ments, however,  occupied  precious  time,  and  when, 
probably  about  noon,  Constantino  returned  to  the 
Porta  Aurelia,  he  found  that  important  events  had 
taken  place  in  his  absence. 

The  whole  course  of  the  attack  and  defence  The  Tomb 
in  that  quarter  was  determined  then,  as  it  has  (the  Castie 
been  in  so  many  subsequent  struggles,  by  Angelo). 

'The  Mole  which  Hadrian  reared  on  high ^5' 

the  tomb,  the  fortress,  the  prison,  of  Sant'  Angelo. 

^  Childe  Harold,  iv.  152. 

202  The  Gothic  Assault, 

BOOKV.  Procopius  shall  describe  it  for  us,  for  his  is  still 

^'       the  fullest  account  which  we  possess  of  the  mighty 

^^^'      Mausoleum  in  its  glory  : — 

*  The  tomb  of  Hadrian  the  Roman  Emperor 
is  outside  the  Porta  Aurelia,  distant  from  the 
wall  about  a  bow-shot,  a  memorable  sight.  For 
it  is  made  of  Parian  marble,  and  the  stones  fit 
closely  one  into  another  with  no  other  fastening. 
It  has  four  equal  sides,  each  about  a  stone's  throw 
in  length,  and  in  height  overtopping  the  wall  of 
the  city.  Above  there  are  placed  statues  of  men 
and  horses  made  out  of  the  same  stone  [Parian], 
and  marvellous  to  behold.  This  tomb  then  the 
men  of  old,  since  it  seemed  like  an  additional 
fortress  for  their  city,  joined  to  the  line  of  forti- 
fication by  two  walls  reaching  out  from  the  main 
circuit  of  the  fortifications.  And  thus  the  tomb 
seemed  like  a  citadel  protecting  the  gate.' 
Conjee-  From  this  description  and  a   few  hints  given 

tural  re-  i  n  t  i  •  i 

construe-  by  travellers  who  saw  the  Mausoleum  m  the 
Tomb.  Middle  Ages,  Eoman  archaeologists^  have  con- 
jectural ly  reconstructed  its  original  outline.  A 
quadrangular  structure  of  dazzling  white  marble, 
each  side  300  Boman  feet  long  and  eighty-five 
feet  high,  it  had  upon  its  sides  inscriptions  to 
the  various  Emperors  from  Trajan  to  Severus 
who  were  buried  within  its  walls.  At  the  corners 
of  this  structure  were  equestrian  statues  of  four 
Emperors.    Above,  two  circular  buildings,  one  over 

^  Especially  Cauina  (Edifizi,  cclxxxiv),  whose  description  I 
follow  with  confidence. 

The  Tomb  of  Hadrian.  203 

the  other,  were  surrounded  with  colonnades  and  book  v. 
peopled   with   marble   statues.     Over   all   rose  a      "'  ^' 
conical  cupola  whose  summit  was  300  feet  above      ^^^' 
the    ground,    so   that   it   might   be   said   of  this 
Mausoleum  as  of  the  City  in  the  Eevelation,  *  The 
length  and  the  breadth  and  the  height  of  it  were 
equal.'  Visitors  to  the  gardens  of  the  Vatican  may 
still  see  there  a  bronze  fir-cone,  eight  feet  high, 
which  according  to  tradition  once  surmounted  the 
cupola  of  Hadrian's  TomK 

Towards  this  tomb-fortress,  then,  swarmed  the  Gothic 

.  .  .         attack  on 

Gothic  bands  from  their  camp  m  the  Neroman  the  Tomb. 
gardens.  They  had  no  elaborate  engines  like  their 
brethren  on  the  other  side  of  the  river,  but  they 
had  ladders  and  bows  in  abundance,  and  hoped 
easily  to  overpower  the  scanty  forces  of  the  de- 
fenders. A  long  colonnade  led  from  the  ^lian 
Bridge  to  the  great  Basilica  of  St.  Peter,  shel- 
tered by  which  they  approached  close  under  the 
walls  of  the  Tomb  before  they  were  perceived 
by  the  garrison.  They  were  then  too  near  for 
the  balistae  to  be  used  against  them  with  efiect, 
the  bolts  discharged  by  those  unwieldy  engines 
flying  over  the  heads  of  the  assailants.  The 
arrows  shot  from  the  bows  of  the  Imperial  soldiers 
could  not  pierce  the  large  oblong  shields  of  the 
Goths,  which  reminded  Procopius  of  the  enormous 
bucklers^  that  he  had  seen  used  in  the  Persian 
wars.  Moreover,  the  quadrangular  shape  of  the 
building  which  they  had  to  defend  put  the  gar- 

^   Ovhiv  i\ao-(rofx€vovs  Ta>v  iv  llepa-ais  deppeav. 

204  The  Gothic  Assault. 

BOOKV.  rison  at  a  disadvantage,  since,  when  thej  were 

Ch.  7. 


facing  the  foe  on  one  side,  they  continually  found 
themselves  taken  in  rear  by  the  assailants  on 
the  opposite  quarter.  Altogether,  things  looked 
ill  for  the  defenders  of  the  Tomb,  till  a  sudden 
instinct  drove  them  to  the  statues ;  that  silent 
marble  chorus  which  stood  watching  the  terrible 
The  statues  drama.  Tearing  these  down  from  their  bases  and 
down.  breaking  the  larger  jBgures  into  fragments,  they 
hurled  them  down  upon  the  eager  Gothic  host. 
At  once  the  exultation  of  the  latter  was  turned 
into  panic.  They  drew  back  from  the  avalanche 
of  sculpture.  They  retreated  within  range  of  the 
balistae.  The  garrison  plied  these  engines  with 
desperate  energy,  and  with  shouts  discharged  their 
arrows  also  against  the  enemy,  whose  shields  now 
no  longer  formed  the  compact  testudo  which  had 
The  Goths  before  resisted  their  missiles.  At  this  moment 
Constantino  appeared  upon  the  scene  and  turned 
repulse  into  defeat.  The  Tomb  of  Hadrian  was 
saved,  but  at  a  price  which  would  have  caused  a 
bitter  pang  to  the  artistic  Emperor  who  raised  and 
adorned  that  mighty  mausoleum  ^ 
Complete  Thus,  ou  both  sidcs  of  the  Tiber,  the  confident 
the  assault,  onset  of  the  Goths  had  ended  in  utter  failure. 
The  battle,  which  began  with  early  dawn,  lasted 
till  evening  twilight.     All   night   long   the   flare 

^  The  Barberini  Faun  at  Munich  and  the  Dancing  Faun  at 
Florence  were  brought  from  the  fosse  below  the  Tomb  of 
Hadrian,  and  may  have  been  two  of  the  statues  hurled  on  the 
heads  of  the  Goths. 

Mourning  in  ihe  Gothic  Camp.  205 

of  the  burning  engines  of  the  Goths  reddened  the  book  v. 
sky.    All  night  rose  the  contrasted  clamours  of  the       ^' '' 
two  armies  ;  from  the  battlements  of  the  city,  the      ^'^^' 
cheers  and  the  rude  songs  in  which  the  Eomans 
praised  the  fame  of  their  hero-general ;  from  the 
Gothic  camps  the  lamentation  for  the  fallen,  the 
groans   of  the   wounded,   the   hurrying   steps   of 
men   rushing   to    and    fro    to    bring  aid  to   their 
agonising  comrades. 

It  was  asserted  by  the  Eomans,  and,  according 
to  Procopius,  admitted  by  the  Gothic  leaders,  that 
on  this  day  30,000  of  the  barbarians  were  stretched 
dead  upon  the  field,  beside  the  vast  numbers  of 
the  wounded. 




Source  : — 

BOOK  V.       Procopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  i.  24-ii.  2. 
Ch.  8. 

537.  After  the  Gothic  assault  was  repulsed,  Beli- 

from^Beii-  ^^^^^^  ^^^"^  ^  messeuger  to  Justinian  with  a  letter 
sariusto     aunouncing:  the  victory  and  prayinsr  for  reinforce- 

Justinian.  o  J  l       j      tD 

ments.  The  letter,  which  was  probably  composed 
by  Procopius  himself,  is  worth  reading,  especially 
as  it  helps  us  to  understand  the  light  in  which  the 
invasion  of  Italy  was  regarded  at  Constantinople. 
*The  King  shall  enjoy  his  own  again ^  was  the 
key-note  of  all  the  Imperial  proceedings  both  at 
Carthage  and  at  Eome.  It  was  not  a  young  and 
vigorous  nationahty,  with  a  fair  prospect  of  an 
honourable  career,  that  Justinian  and  his  generals 
seemed  to  themselves  to  be  suppressing.  It  was 
simply  an  inalienable  right  that  they  were  assert- 
ing, a  right  that  generations  of  barbaric  domination 
could  not  weaken,  the  right  of  the  Im^erator 
Bomanus  to  Eome  and  to  every  country  that  her 
legions  had  once  subdued. 

*  We  have  arrived  in  Italy '  (said  Belisarius)  '  in 
obedience  to  your  orders,  and  after  possessing  our- 

Belisarms  to  Justinian.  207 

selves  of  a  large  extent  of  its  territory  have  also  book  v. 
taken  Rome,  driving  away  the  barbarians  whom  — L__ 
we  found  there,  whose  captain,  Leuderis,  we  lately  ^^^' 
sent  to  you.  Owing,  however,  to  the  large  number 
of  soldiers  whom  we  have  had  to  detach  for  gar- 
rison duty  in  the  various  towns  of  Italy  and  Sicily 
which  we  have  taken,  our  force  here  is  dwindled  to 
5000  men.  The  enemy  has  come  against  us  with 
an  army  1 50,000  strong ;  and  in  the  first  engage- 
ment, when  we  went  out  to  reconnoitre  by  the 
banks  of  the  Tiber,  being  forced,  contrary  to  our 
intention,  to  fight,  we  were  very  nearly  buried 
under  the  multitude  of  their  spears.  Then,  when 
the  barbarians  tried  a  general  assault  upon  our 
walls  with  all  their  forces  and  with  many  engines 
of  war,  they  were  within  a  little  of  capturing 
us  and  the  city  at  the  first  rush.  Some  good 
fortune  however  (for  one  must  refer  to  Fortune 
not  to  our  valour  the  accomplishment  of  a  deed 
which  in  the  nature  of  things  was  not  to  be 
expected)  saved  us  from  their  hands. 

*So  far  however,  whether  Valour  or  Fortune 
have  decided  the  struggle,  your  affairs  have  gone 
as  well  as  could  be  desired,  but  I  should  like  that 
this  success  should  continue  in  days  to  come.  I 
will  say  without  concealment  what  I  think  you 
ought  now  to  do,  knowing  well  that  human  affairs 
turn  out  as  God  wills,  but  knowing  also  that 
those  who  preside  over  the  destinies  of  nations 
are  judged  according  to  the  event  of  their  en- 
terprises, be  that  event  good  or  bad.     I  pray  you, 

208  Roman  Sorties. 

BOOKV.  then,  let  arms  and  soldiers  be  sent  to  us  in  such 
^"•^'  numbers  that  we  may  no  longer  have  to  continue 
537-  the  war  on  terms  of  such  terrible  inequality  with 
our  enemies.  For  it  is  not  right  to  trust  every- 
thing to  Fortune,  since  if  she  favours  us  at  one 
time  she  will  turn  her  back  upon  us  at  another. 
But  I  pray  you,  0  Emperor,  to  let  this  thought 
into  your  mind,  that  if  the  barbarians  should  now 
vanquish  us,  not  only  shall  we  be  driven  out  of 
your  own  Italy  and  lose  our  army  too,  but  deep 
disgrace  will  accrue  to  us  all  as  the  result  of  our 
actions.  We  shall  certainly  be  thought  to  have 
ruined  the  Romans  who  have  preferred  loyalty 
to  your  Empire  above  their  own  safety.  And 
thus  even  the  good  luck  which  has  attended  us 
so  far  will  prove  in  the.  end  calamitous  to  our 
friends.  If  we  had  failed  in  our  attempts  on 
Rome,  on  Campania,  or  on  Sicily,  we  should  only 
have  had  the  slight  mortification  of  not  being  able 
to  appropriate  the  possessions  of  others.  Very 
different  will  be  our  feelings  now  when  we  lose 
what  we  have  learned  to  look  upon  as  our  own, 
and  drag  those  who  have  trusted  us  down  into 
the  same  abyss  of  ruin. 

'  Consider  this  too,  I  pray  you,  that  it  is  only 
the  good-will  of  the  citizens  which  has  enabled 
us  to  hold  Rome  for  ever  so  short  a  time  against 
the  myriads  who  besiege  it.  With  a  wide  extent 
of  open  country  round  it,  with  no  access  to  the 
sea,  shut  off  from  supplies,  we  could  do  nothing 
if  the  citizens  were  hostile.     They  are  still  ani- 

Reinforcements  from  Constantinople.       209 

mated  by  friendly  feelings  towards  us,  but  if  their  book  v. 

hardships  should  be  greatly  prolonged  it  is  only   1_ 

natural  that  they  should  choose  for  themselves  ^^^" 
the  easier  lot.  For  a  recently  formed  friendship 
like  theirs  requires  prosperity  to  enable  it  to 
endure  :  and  the  Romans  especially  may  be  com- 
pelled by  hunger  to  do  many  things  which  are 
very  contrary  to  their  inclination. 

'  To  conclude :  I  know  that  I  am  bound  to 
sacrifice  life  itself  to  your  Majesty,  and  therefore 
no  man  shall  force  me,  living,  from  this  place. 
But  consider,  I  pray  you,  what  kind  of  fame  would 
accrue  to  Justinian  from  such  an  end  to  the  career 
of  Belisarius^' 

The  effect  of  this  letter  was  to  accelerate  the  Reinforce- 
preparations    already   made    for    reinforcing    the  from  Con- 
gallant  band  in  Bome.     Valerian  and  Martin  had  pie. 
been  sent,   late  in   536,  with  ships  and  men  to 
the  help  of  Belisarius,  but,  fearing   to   face   the 
winter  storms,  had  lingered  on  the  coast  of  JEtolia. 
They  now  received  a  message  from  the  Emperor 
to  quicken  their  movements ;    and   at   the   same 
time  the  spirits  of  the  general  and  the  citizens 
were  raised  by   the   tidings    that   reinforcements 
were  on  their  way  to  relieve  them. 

On  the  very  next  day  after  the  failure  of  the  Non-com-- 
Gothic   assault   the   unmenaced   gates    of    Rome  sent  out 

T  T  .  PI  1  of  Rome. 

opened,  and  a  troop   01   aged  men,  women,  and 

^  'E-ycb  juei/  ovv  oida  Odvarov  oc})€lXg)V  rfj  arj  jSaaiXda,  Kai  Sia  tovto 
^wvTo.  fie  ovbe\s  au  ivdivbe  e'^eXai'  bvvaLTo,  ^Konet  de  cmolav  croi  ttotc 
bo^av  r)  toiuvti]  BeXiu-apiov  reXcvrf}  (jiepoi. 

VOL.  IV.  P 


210  Roman  Sorties. 

BOOK  V.  children,  set  forth  from  the  city.  Some  went  out 
^'  by  the  Appian  Gate  and  along  the  Appian  Way, 
others  went  forth  by  the  Porta  Portuensis  and  sailed 
down  the  Tiber  to  the  sea.  They  were  accom- 
panied by  all  the  slaves,  male  and  female,  except 
such  of  the  former  as  Belisarlus  had  impressed 
for  the  defence  of  the  walls.  Even  the  soldiers 
had  to  part  with  the  servants  who  generally 
followed  them  to  war.  In  thus  immediately 
sending  the  useless  mouths  out  of  Kome  Belisarius 
showed  his  prompt  appreciation  of  the  necessities 
of  his  position.  He  had  repelled  an  assault ;  he 
would  now  guard  as  well  as  he  might  against 
the  dangers  of  a  blockade.  Had  Witigis  been  as 
great  a  master  as  Belisarius  of  the  cruel  logic 
of  war,  he  would  undoubtedly  have  prevented 
the  Byzantine  general  from  disencumbering  him- 
self of  the  multitude,  who  by  their  necessities 
would  have  been  the  most  effectual  allies  of  the 
Goths  inside  the  city.  Imperfect  as  was  the 
Gothic  line  of  circumvallation,  it  is  impossible  to 
believe  that  more  than  100,000  warriors,  including 
a  large  body  of  cavalry,  could  not  by  occupying 
the  main  roads  have  prevented  at  least  some  of 
a  large  and  defenceless  multitude  from  escaping, 
and  have  driven  them  back  within  the  walls  of 
Kome.  But,  in  fact,  all  of  them,  without  fear 
or  molestation,  reached  the  friendly  shelter  of  the 
cities  of  Campania,  or  crossed  the  straits  and  took 
refuge  in  Sicily. 

The  fact  seems  to  have  been  that,  except  by 

Portus  occtipied  by  the  Goths.  211 

a  series  of  brave  and  blundering  assaults  upon  the  book  v. 
actual  walls  of  the  city,  the  Goths,  or  perhaps  we  _ — L_ 
should  rather  say  the  Gothic  King,  had  no  notion  The^Goths 
how  to  handle  the  siege.     One  right  step  indeed  p^^^^^ 
he  took,  in  view  of  the  now  necessary  blockade. 
Three  days  after   the   failure   of  the   assault   heTwenty- 
sent  a  body  01  troops  to  Portus,  which  they  found  the  siege. 
practically  undefended,  notwithstanding  its  mas- 
sive wall  (the  ruins  of  which  are  still  visible),  and 
it  was  at  once  occupied  by  them  with  a  garrison 
of  1000  men.     Procopius  is  of  opinion  that  even 
300  Koman  soldiers  would   have   been  sufficient 
to  defend  Portus,  but  they  could  not  be  spared  by 
Belisarius   from  the  yet  more  pressing   duty   of 
watching  on  the  Roman   ramparts.      The   occu- 
pation of  Portus   caused  great  inconvenience   to 
the  Eomans,  although  they  still  remained  in  pos- 
session of  Ostia   and   the   neighbouring   harbour 
of  Antium.     From  Portus  (which  since  the  second 
century  had  practically  displaced  Ostia  as  the  chief 
emporium  of  Rome)  merchants  were  accustomed 
to  bring  all  heavy  cargoes  up  the  Tiber  in  barges 
drawn  by  oxen,  for  which  there  was  an  excellent 
towpath  all  along  the  right  bank  of  the   river. 
From  Ostia,  on  the  other  hand,  merchandise  had 
to  be  brought  in  skiffs  dependent  on  the  favour 
of  the  wind,  which,  owing  to  the  winding  character 
of  the  river,  seldom  served  them  for  a    straight 
run  from  the  harbour  to  the  city. 

Besides  the  occupation  of  Portus,  Witigis  could  Murder 
bethink  him  of  no  better   device   to   annoy  the  hostages. 

p  2 

212  Roman  Sorties. 

BOOKV.  Eomans  than  the  cruel  and  senseless  one  of  mur- 
'  dering  their  hostages.  He  sent  orders  to  Eavenna 
^^^*  that  all  the  Senators  whom  he  had  confined  there 
at  the  outbreak  of  the  war  should  be  put  to  death. 
A  few  escaped  to  Milan,  haviug  had  some  warning 
of  their  impending  fate.  Among  them  were  a 
certain  Cerventinus,  and  Eeparatus  a  brother  of 
the  deacon  Yirgilius,  who  was  in  a  few  months 
to  become  Pope.  The  others  all  perished,  and 
with  them  went  the  Goth's  last  chance  of  ruling 
the  Roman  otherwise  than  by  fear. 

Timidity        Meanwhile  the  Gothic  blockade,  into  which  the 

of  the  be- 
siegers,      siege  was  resolving  itself,  was  of  the  feeblest  and 

most  inefficient  kind.  Leaving  all  the  praise  of 
dash  and  daring  to  the  scanty  bands  of  their 
enemies,  the  Goths  clung  timidly  to  their  un- 
wieldy camps,  in  which  no  doubt  already  pestilence 
was  lurking.  They  never  ventured  forth  by  night, 
seldom  except  in  large  companies  by  day.  The 
light  Moorish  horsemen  were  their  especial  terror. 
If  a  Goth  wandered  forth  into  the  Campagna 
alone,  to  cut  fodder  for  his  horse  or  to  bring  one 
of  the  oxen  in  from  pasture,  he  was  almost  sure 
to  see  one  of  these  children  of  the  desert  bearing 
down  upon  him.  With  one  cast  of  the  Moor's 
lance  the  Goth  was  slain,  his  arms  and  his  barbaric 
adornments  were  stripped  from  him,  and  the  Moor 
was  off  again  full  speed  towards  Eome  before  the 
avenger  could  be  upon  his  track. 
Defence  of  BeHsarius,  on  the  other  hand,  organised  his  de- 
fence of  the  city  so  thoroughly  as  to  leave  as  little 


Precautions  of  Belisarius.  213 

as  possible  to  the  caprice  of  Fortune.     To  prevent  book  v. 

his  own  little  band  of  soldiers  from  being  worn  L_ 

out  by  continual  sentinel-duty,  especially  at  night, 
and  at  the  same  time  to  keep  from  starvation 
the  Eoman  proletariat,  all  of  whose  ordinary  work 
was  stopped  by  the  siege,  he  instituted  a  kind 
of  National  Guard.  He  mixed  a  certain  number 
of  these  citizen  soldiers  with  his  regular  troops, 
paying  each  of  them  a  small  sum  for  his  daily 
maintenance,  and  dividing  the  whole  amalgamated 
force  into  companies,  to  each  of  whom  was  assigned 
the  duty  of  guarding  a  particular  portion  of  the 
walls  by  day  or  by  night.  To  obviate  the  danger 
of  treachery,  these  companies  were  shifted  every 
fortnight  to  some  part  of  the  circuit  at  a  con- 
siderable distance  from  that  which  they  last 
guarded.  After  the  same  interval  the  keys  of 
every  gate  of  the  city  were  brought  to  him, 
melted  down  and  cast  afresh  with  different  wards, 
the  locks  of  course  being  altered  to  suit  them. 
The  names  of  the  sentinels  were  entered  upon  a 
list  which  was  called  over  each  day.  The  place 
of  any  absent  soldier  or  citizen  was  at  once  filled 
up,  and  he  was  summoned  to  the  general's  quarters 
to  be  punished,  perhaps  capitally  punished,  for  his 
delinquency.  All  the  night,  bands  of  music  played 
at  intervals  along  the  walls,  to  keep  the  defenders 
awake  and  to  cheer  their  drooping  courage.  All 
night  too,  the  Moors,  the  terrible  Moors,  were 
instructed  to  prowl  round  the  base  of  the  walls, 
accompanied  by  bloodhounds,  in  order  to  detect 

214  Roma7i  Sorties. 

BOOKv.  any  attempt  by  the  Goths  at  a  nocturnal  escalade. 
About  this  time  a   curious   attempt   was    made, 

kJ^^\^  which  shows  that  there  was  still  an  undercurrent 

Attempt  to 

Tr*^/     of  the  old  Paganism  in  the  apparently  Christian 
the  temple  ^nd  Orthodox  City.     The  little  square  temple  of 

of  Janus.  "^  ^  ^       ^  ^     ^ 

Janus,  nearly  coeval  with  the  Kepublic,  still  stood 
in  the  Forum  in  front  of  the  Senate-house  and 
a  little  above  the  Tria  Fata  or  temple  of  the 
Fates.  The  temple  was  all  overlaid  with  brass ; 
of  brass  was  the  double-faced  statue  of  Janus, 
seven  and  a-half  feet  high,  which  stood  within  it, 
looking  with  one  face  to  the  rising  and  with  one 
to  the  setting  sun;  of  brass  were  the  renowned 
gates  which  the  Eomans  of  old  shut  only  in  time 
of  peace,  when  all  good  things  abounded,  and 
opened  in  time  of  war.  .  Since  the  citizens  of 
Eome  had  become  zealous  above  all  others  in 
their  attachment  to  Christianity,  these  gates  had 
been  kept  equally  shut  whether  peace  or  war 
were  in  the  land.  Now,  however,  some  secret 
votaries  of  the  old  faith  tried,  probably  under 
cover  of  night,  to  open  these  brazen  gates,  that  the 
god  might  march  out  as  of  old  to  help  the  Eoman 
armies.  They  did  not  succeed  in  opening  wide  the 
massive  doors,  but  they  seem  to  have  wrenched 
them  a  little  from  their  hinges,  so  that  they  would 
no  longer  shut  tightly  as  aforetime  ;  an  apt  symbol 
of  the  troubled  state  of  things,  neither  settled 
peace  nor  victorious  war,  which  was  for  many 
centuries  to  prevail  in  Eome.  This  evidence  of 
still  existing  Paganism   must   have   shocked   the 

The  Reinforcements  arrive.  215 

servants  of  the  pious  Justinian  ;  but  owing  to  the  book  v. 
troublous  state  of  affairs  no  enquiry  was  made  aa  — L_ 

C  T  17 

to  the  authors  of  the  deed  ^ 

At  length,  on  the  forty-first  day  from  the  com-  Arrival  of 

.  1       1      J  i?  Imperial 

mencement  of  the  siege,  the  long-looked-for  re-  reinforce- 
inforcements  under  Martin  and  Valerian  arrived  in  about '13 
Borne.  They  were  but  1600  men  after  all,  but 
they  were  cavalry  troops,  hardy  horsemen  from 
the  regions  beyond  the  Danube,  Huns,  Sclavoni- 
ans,  and  Antes  ^ ;  and  their  arrival  brought  joy  to 
the  heart  of  Belisarius,  who  decided  that  now  the 
time  was  come  for  attempting  offensive  operations 
against  the  enemy.     The  first  sallying  party  was  Belisarius 

orders  ^ 

under  the  command  of  Trajan,  one  of  the  body-  saiiy. 
guard  of  the  General,  a  brave  and  capable  man. 
He  was  ordered  to  lead  forth  200  light-armed 
horsemen  from  the  Salarian  Gate,  and  to  occupy 
a  little  eminence  near  to  one  of  the  Gothic  camps. 
There  was  to  be  no  hand-to-hand  fighting ;  neither 
sword  nor  spear  was  to  be  used ;  only  each  man's 
bow  was  to  discharge  as  many  arrows  as  possible, 
and  when  these  were  exhausted  the  soldiers  were 
to  seek  safety  in  flight.  These  orders  were  obeyed. 
Each  Roman  arrow  transfixed  some  Gothic  warrior 

^  This  temple  of  Janus — the  most  celebrated  but  not  the 
only  one  in  Rome — must  have  stood  a  little  to  the  right  of 
the  Arch  of  Septimius  Severus  (as  one  looks  towards  the 
Capitol)  and  a  little  in  front  of  the  Mamertine  Prison.  No 
traces  whatever  of  it  or  of  the  Tria  Fata  appear  to  have  been 

^  A  people  akin  to  the  Sclavonians,  who  dwelt  at  this  time, 
according  to  Jordanes  (De  Reb.  Get.  v),  between  the  Dniester 
and  the  Dnieper  on  the  shores  of  the  Black  Sea. 

216  Roman  Sorties. 

BOOKV.  or  his  steed.  When  their  quivers  were  empty, 
^°'^'  the  skirmishers  hastened  back  under  the  shelter 
^^7-  of  the  walls  of  the  city.  The  Goths  pursued,  but 
soon  found  themselves  within  range  of  the  balistae, 
which  were  in.  full  activity  on  the  battlements. 
It  was  believed  in  the  Eoman  camp  that  looo 
of  their  enemies  had  been  laid  low  by  this  day's 

other  A  second  sortie  under  Mundilas  and  Diogenes 

and  a  third  under  Wilas,  all  three  brave  guards- 
men of  Belisarius,  were  equally  destructive  to  the 
enemy,  and  the  result  was  achieved  with  equally 
little  cost  to  the  troop,  300  strong  in  each  case, 
by  whom  the  sortie  was  effected. 

witigis  Seeing  the  success  of  these  manoeuvres,  Witi- 

tries  to 

imitate      gis,  who  had  not  yet  apprehended  the  difference  of 

the  Roman  .     .  .  ' 

tacticf^.  training  and  equipment  between  his  countrymen 
and  the  Imperialists,  thought  he  could  not  do 
better  than  imitate  them.  Victory  was  evidently 
to  be  had  if  a  general  made  his  army  small  enough : 
and  he  accordingly  sent  500  horsemen  with  orders 
to  go  as  near  as  they  could  to  the  walls,  without 
coming  within  range  of  the  balistae,  and  avenge 
upon  the  Eomans  all  the  evils  which  they  had 
suffered  at  their  hands.  The  Goths  accordingly 
took  up  their  position  on  a  little  rising  ground  ; 
and  Belisarius,  perceiving  them,  sent  Bessas  with 
1000  men  to  steal  round  and  take  them  in  rear. 
The  Goths  soon  found  themselves  overmastered : 
many  of  them  fell;  the  rest  fled  to  their  camp 
and  were  upbraided  by  Witigis  for  their  cowardice. 

Catcses  of  success  of  the  Imperial  Troops,   217 
'  Why  could  not  the  j  win  a  victory  with  a  handful  book  v. 

Ch.  8. 


of  men  as  the  troops  on  the  other  side  did  V  So 
did  the  clumsy  workman  quarrel  with  his  tools. 
Three  days  after  he  got  together  another  band 
of  500  men,  picking  them  from  each  of  the  Gothic 
camps  that  he  might  be  sure  to  have  some  valiant 
men  among  them,  and  sent  them  with  the  same 
general  directions,  *to  do  brave  deeds  against  the 
enemy/  When  they  drew  near,  Belisarius  sent 
1500  horsemen  against  them  under  the  newly- 
arrived  generals  Martin  and  Valerian.  An  eques- 
trian battle  ensued.  Again  the  Goths,  hopelessly 
outnumbered,  were  easily  put  to  flight,  and  great 
numbers  of  them  were  slain. 

Not  in  the  Gothic  camp  only  did  this  uniform  Cause  of 
success  of  the  Imperial  troops,  apparently  on  the  form  supe- 
most  different  lines  of  encounter,  excite  much  and  the  im- 
eager    questioning :    the    Koman    citizens,    whose  ^^"'^ 
former  criticisms  had  given  place  to  abject  admi- 
ration,, attributed  it  all  to  the  marvellous  genius 
of  Belisarius.      In  the   Pincian  Palace,  however, 
the  question  was  earnestly  debated  by  the  friends 
of  the  General.     Upon  this  occasion  it  was  that 
Belisarius  expressed  that  opinion  which  has  been 
already  quoted  ^  that  the  superiority  of  the  Im- 
perial army  in  mounted  archers^  was  the  cause  of 
its  unvarying  victories  over  the  Goths,  whether 
the  battles  were  fought  by  larger  or  smaller  bodies 
of  men. 

The   repeated   and   brilliant   successes    of    the 

^   See  p.  7.  ^   mv^oro^o-rai. 

218  Roman  Sorties, 

BOOKv.  Imperial  troops  were  almost  as  embarrassing  to 

"'  ^'     Belisarius   as   to  the   Gothic  King,  though  in  a 

oyer-con-   different  way.     They  fostered  both  in  officers  and 

hdence  of  ^  j 

the  impe-   soldicrs  such  an  overweeninsf  contempt  of  the  bar- 

rial  troops.  ^  .  . 

barians,  that  now  nothing  would  satisfy  them  but 
to  be  led  forth  to  a  regular  pitched  battle  under 
the  walls  of  Rome,  and  make  an  end  once  for  all 
of  the  presumptuous  besiegers.  The  method  which 
Belisarius  preferred,  and  which  was  far  safer,  was 
to  wear  out  the  barbarians  by  an  incessant  suc- 
cession of  such  movements  as  Shakespeare  indi- 
cates by  '  alarums,  excursions.'  He  dreaded  putting 
Fortune  to  the  test  with  the  whole  of  his  little 
army  at  once.  He  found,  however,  at  last  that 
to  keep  that  army  at  all  in  hand  it  was  necessary 
(as  it  had  been  at  the  battle  of  Sura)  to  yield 
to  their  wish  in  this  thing ;  and  he  indulged  the 
hope  that  their  confidence  of  victory  might  be 
one  powerful  factor  in  the  process  which  would 
enable  him  to  secure  it.  Still  he  would  have 
made  his  grand  attack  somewhat  by  way  of  a 
surprise,  but  was  foiled  in  this  endeavour  by  the 
Prepara-  information  given  by  deserters  to  the  Goths.  At 
a  pitched  length,  therefore,  he  resigned  himself  to  fight  a 
regular  pitched  battle  with  full  notice  on  either 
side.  The  customary  harangues  were  delivered 
Speech  of   by    cach    commander.     Belisarius    reminded    his 

Belisarius.  i  •       i  i  p      i      • 

soldiers  that  this  battle  was  one  of  their  own 
seeking,  and  that  they  would  have  to  justify  the 
advice  which  they  had  ventured  to  give,  and  to 
maintain  the    credit   of  their   previous   victories, 

Belisarius  consents  to  fight  a  pitched  Battle.  219 

by  their  conduct  on  that   day.     He   bade   them  book  v. 
not  spare  either  horse  or  javeHn  or  bow  in  the  — _1^ 
coming  fray,  since  all  such  losses  should  be  abun-      ^^^' 
dantly  made  up  to  them  out  of  his  military  stores. 
The  purport    of  the   speech   of  Witisiis — if  Pro- Speech  of 

^        ^  ^  ^  .  Witigis. 

copius's  account  of  it  be  not  a  mere  rhetorical 
exercise — was  to  assure  his  brethren  in  arms  that 
it  was  no  selfish  care  for  his  crown  and  dignity 
which  made  him  the  humble  suitor  for  their  best 
assistance  on  that  day.  *For  the  loss  of  life  or 
kingship  I  care  not ;  nay,  I  would  pray  to  put 
off  this  purple  robe  to  day  if  only  I  were  assured 
that  it  would  hang  upon  Gothic  shoulders  to- 
morrow. EvcD  Theodahad's  end  seems  to  me  an 
enviable  one,  since  he  died  by  Gothic  hands  and 
lost  life  and  power  by  the  same  stroke.  But  what 
I  cannot  bear  to  contemplate  is  ruin  falling  not 
only  on  me  but  on  my  race.  I  think  of  the 
calamity  of  the  Vandals,  and  imagine  that  I  see 
you  and  your  sons  carried  away  into  captivity, 
your  wives  suffering  the  last  indignities  from  our 
implacable  foes,  myself  and  my  wife,  the  grand- 
daughter of  the  great  Theodoric,  led  whithersoever 
the  insulting  conqueror  shall  please  to  order. 
Think  of  all  these  things,  my  countrymen,  and 
vow  in  your  own  hearts  that  you  will  die  on  this 
field  of  battle  rather  than  they  shall  come  to  pass. 
If  this  be  your  determination,  an  easy  victory  is 
yours.  Few  in  number  are  the  enemy,  and  after 
all  they  are  but  Greeks  and  Greek-like  people. 
The  only  thing  which  keeps  them  together  is  a 

220  Roman  Sorties, 

BOOKv.  vain  confidence  derived  from  some  recent  disasters 

'  '  .  of  ours.     Be  true  to  yourselves,  and  you  will  soon 

^^^'      shatter  tliat  confidence  and  inflict  a  signal  punish- 
ment upon  them  for  all  the  insults  that  we  have 
received  at  their  hands.' 
Arrange-        After  this  harauguc  Witigis  drew  up  his  army 
the  Gothic  in  Hue  of  battle,  the  infantry  in  the  middle,  the 
cavalry  on  either  wing.     He  stationed  them  as 
near  as  might  be  to  the  Gothic  camps,  in  order 
that  when  the  Komans  were  defeated,  as  he  made 
no  doubt  they  would  be,  owing  to  their  enormous 
inferiority  in  numbers,  their    long   flight   to    the 
shelter  of  their  walls  might  be  as  disastrous  to 
them  as  possible. 
Disposi-  Belisarius  on  his  side  determined  to  make  his 

tions  made  i       r»  i         t-»*       •  -x    c\  -  rn 

byBeii-     real  attack  from  the  rmcxan  and  Salarian  Gates. 

Double  ^t  the  same  time  a  feigned  attack  towards  the 
attack.  Q-othic  camp  under  Monte  Mario  was  to  be  made 
from  the  Porta  Aurelia  and  the  neighbourhood  of 
the  Tomb  of  Hadrian.  The  object  of  this  feigned 
attack  was  of  course  to  prevent  the  large  number 
of  Goths  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Tiber  from 
swarming  across  the  Milvian  Bridge  to  the  as- 
sistance of  their  brethren.  Strict  orders  were, 
however,  given  to  Valentine,  who  commanded  the 
troops  in  this  quarter,  on  no  account  to  advance 
really  within  fighting  distance  of  the  enemy,  but 
to  harass  him  with  a,  perpetual  apparent  ofl'er  of 
battle  never  leading  to  a  decided  result. 
The  citizen  In  fuitlier  pursuaucc  of  the  same  policy  the 
General  accepted  the  service  of  a  large  number 

Pla7i  of  the  Battle,  221 

of  volunteers  from  among  the  mechanics  of  Kome,  book  v. 

Ch.  8. 

equipped  them  with  shield  and  spear,  and  sta- 
tioned them  in  front  of  the  Pancratian  Gate.  He  ^^'^' 
placed  no  reliance  on  the  services  of  these  men 
for  actual  fighting,  utterly  unused  as  they  were 
to  the  art  of  war,  but  he  reckoned,  not  without 
cause,  on  the  effect  which  the  sight  of  so  large  a 
body  of  men  would  have  in  preventing  the  Goths 
from  quitting  their  camp  under  Monte  Mario. 
Meanwhile,  the  orders  to  the  mechanic- volunteers 
were,  not  to  stir  till  they  should  receive  the  signal 
from  him,  a  signal  which  he  was  fully  determined 
never  to  give. 

The  battle,   according  to  the  original  plan  ofBattietobe 

T^T*  1P1  •!  •!  1^  cavalry 

Belisarms,  was  to  be  lough t  entirely  with  cavalry,  battle. 
the  arm  in  which  he  knew  himself  to  be  strongest, 
many  of  his  best  foot- soldiers,  who  were  already 
well-skilled  in  horsemanship,  having  provided 
themselves  with  horses  at  the  expense  of  the 
enemy,  and  so  turned  themselves  into  cavalry. 
He  feared  too  the  instability  of  such  infantry 
as  he  had,  and  their  liability  to  sudden  panics, 
and  therefore  determined  to  keep  them  near  to 
the  fosse  of  the  city  walls,  there  to  act  simply 
as  a  slight  support  for  any  of  the  cavalry  who 
might  chance  to  be  thrown  into  confusion.  This  The  plan 
intention  was  changed  at  the  last  moment — the  ^  ^^^^^ ' 
General  was  in  a  mood  that  day  for  receiving 
advice  from  all  quarters — by  the  earnest  repre- 
sentations of  two  valiant  Asiatic  highlanders, 
Principius  a  Pisidian,  and  Tarmutus  an  Isaurian, 


222  Roman  Sorties. 

BooKv.  whose  brother  Eunas  commanded  the  contingent 

"'        of  those  hardy  mountaineers.    These  men  besought 

.  ,^.^^'  .  him  not  further  to  lessen  the  numbers  of  his  2:al- 

Advice  of  " 

Principius  \^^\^  little  army  by  withdrawing  the  foot-soldiers, 
mutus.  the  representatives  of  those  mighty  legions  by 
which  'the  Eomans  of  old'  had  won  their  great- 
ness, from  active  service.  They  asserted  their 
conviction  that  if,  in  recent  engagements,  the 
infantry  had  done  something  less  than  their  duty, 
the  fault  lay  not  with  the  common  soldiers  but 
with  the  officers,  who  insisted  on  being  mounted, 
and  who  were,  too  often,  only  looking  about  for 
a  favourable  moment  for  flight.  Thus  the  troops 
were  discouraged,  because  they  felt  that  the  men 
who  were  giving  them  orders  did  not  share  their 
dangers.  But  if  Belisarius  would  allow  these 
horsemen  officers  to  fight  that  day  with  the  horse- 
men, and  would  allow  them,  Principius  and  Tar- 
mutus,  to  share  on  foot  the  dangers  of  the  men 
under  their  command,  and  with  them  to  advance 
boldly  against  the  enemy,  they  trusted  with  God's 
help  to  do  some  deeds  against  them  that  the 
world  should  wot  of.  Belisarius  for  long  would 
not  yield.  He  loved  the  two  valiant  highlanders  : 
he  was  loth  to  run  the  risk  of  losing  them :  he 
was  also  loth  to  run  the  risk  of  losing  his  little 
army  of  foot-soldiers.  At  length,  however,  he  con- 
sented. He  left  the  smallest  possible  number  of 
soldiers  to  guard,  with  the  help  of  the  Eoman 
populace,  the  machines  on  the  battlements  and 
at  the  gates :    and  placing  the  main  body  of  his 

Battle  on  the  north-east  of  the  City.       223 

infantry  under  the  command  of  Principius   and  book  v. 

Tarmutus,  he  gave  them  orders  to  march  behind  __ 

the    cavalry   against    the    enemy.       Should    any      ^^^' 
portion  of  the  cavalry  be  put  to  flight  they  were 
to  open  their  ranks  and  let  them  joass  through, 
themselves  engaging  the  enemy  till  the  horsemen 
had  time  to  re-form. 

It  was  felt  on  both  sides  that  this  was  to  be  Battle  at 

1       •    •  'IP  -ITT*    ••11  •      thePincian 

a  decisive  trial  oi  strength.  Witigis  had  put  mandSaia- 
battle  array  every  man  of  his  army  available  for 
service,  leaving  in  the  camps  only  the  camp-fol- 
lowers and  the  men  who  were  disabled  by  their 
wounds.  Early  in  the  morning  the  hostile  ranks 
closed  for  battle.  The  troops  in  front  of  the 
Pincian  and  Salarian  Gates  soon  got  the  upper 
hand  of  the  enemy,  among  whose  clustered  masses 
their  arrows  fell  with  terrible  effect.  But  the 
Gothic  multitudes  were  too  thick,  and  the  men 
too  stout-hearted  for  even  this  slaughter  to  pro- 
duce complete  rout.  As  one  rank  of  the  barbarians 
was  mown  down,  another  pressed  forward  to  supply 
its  place.  Thus  the  Eomans,  who  had  slowly 
pressed  forward,  found  themselves  by  noon  close 
to  the  Gothic  camp,  but  surrounded  still  by  so 
compact  a  body  of  their  foes  that  they  began 
to  feel  that  any  pretext  which  would  enable  them 
to  return  in  good  order  under  the  shelter  of  their 
walls  would  be  a  welcome  thing.  The  heroes  of 
this  period  of  the  struggle  were  an  Isaurian 
guardsman  named  Athenodorus  and  two  Cappa- 
docians,  Theodoret  and  Georgius,  who  darted  forth 



224  Roman  Sorties, 

BOOK  V.  in  front  of  tlie  Koman  line  and  with  their  spears 
transfixed  many  of  the  enemy.  Thus  again  the 
men  who  came  from  the  rough  sides  of  Mount 
Taurus  showed  themselves  conspicuous  among  the 
most  warlike  spirits  of  the  Imperial  army. 

Battle  un-       While  this  hot  strife  was  beinsr  washed  on  the 

der  Monte  r*     i  •  i   • 

Mario.  north-cast  of  the  city,  strange  events  were  taking 
place  on  the  other  side  of  the  river  in  the 
Neronian  plain  under  Monte  Mario.  Here  the 
Gothic  general  Marcias  had  been  enjoined  by  his 
King  to  play  a  waiting  game,  and  above  all  things 
to  watch  the  Milvian  Bridge  in  order  that  no 
Eomans  should  cross  by  it  to  succour  their  country- 
men. The  Romans,  it  will  be  remembered,  had 
received  a  similar  order  from  their  general,  and  it 
might  therefore  have  been  expected  that  there 
would  be  no  battle.  But  as  the  day  wore  on, 
it  chanced  that  one  of  the  feigned  assaults  of  the 
Roman  troops  was  turned  into  a  real  one  by  the 
sudden  giving  way  of  the  Gothic  ranks.  The 
flying  Goths  were  unable  to  reach  their  camp,  but 
turned  and  re-formed  upon  one  of  the  hills  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  the  Monte  Mario.  Among  the 
Eoman  troops  were  many  sailors  and  slaves  acting 
the  soldier  for  the  first  time,  and  ignorant  of 
discipline.  Possibly,  though  this  is  not  expressly 
stated,  some  of  the  mechanic  crew  who  were 
stationed  in  front  of  the  Pancratian  Gate  joined 
in  the  pursuit.  At  any  rate  the  successful  Romans 
soon  became  quite  unmanageable  by  their  leaders. 
The   loudly-shouted   commands   of  their  general. 



The  Battle  on  the  Neronian  Plain.       225 

Valentine,  were  unheard  or  disregarded.  They  book  v. 
did  not  concern  themselves  with  the  slaughter 
of  the  flying  Goths.  They  did  not  press  on  to 
seize  and  cross  the  Milvian  Bridge,  in  which  case 
their  opportune  assistance  to  Belisarius  might 
almost  have  enabled  him  to  end  the  war  at  a 
stroke.  They  only  occupied  themselves  with  the 
plunder  of  the  Gothic  camp,  where  silver  vessels 
and  many  other  precious  things  (evidences  of  the 
enriching  effect  of  the  long  peace  on  the  Ostro- 
gothic  warriors)  attracted  their  greedy  eyes.  The 
natural  consequence  followed.  The  Goths,  so  long 
left  unmolested,  and  leisurely  re-forming  on  Monte 
Mario,  looked  on  for  a  time  quietly  at  the  plunder 
of  their  camp.  Then  taking  heart  from  their  long 
reprieve,  and  reading  the  signs  of  disorder  in 
the  hostile  forces,  they  dashed  on  with  a  savage 
yell,  leaped  the  ramparts  of  their  camp,  and  scat- 
tered the  invaders  of  it  like  chaff  before  the  wind. 
Silver  vessels  and  golden  trappings,  all  the  spoils 
for  the  sake  of  which  the  greedy  crew  had  sacrificed 
the  chance  of  a  splendid  victory,  were  dashed  in 
terror  to  the  ground,  while  the  slaves  and  sailors 
dressed  up  in  military  garb  fled  on  all  sides  in  utter 
rout  and  confusion  from  the  camp,  or  fell  by  hun- 
dreds under  the  Gothic  sword.  The  day's  fighting 
on  the  Neronian  Plain  had  been  a  series  of  blunders 
on  both  sides,  but  the  eventual  victory  rested  with 
the  side  which  made  fewest,  Marcias  and  his  Goths. 

At  the  same  time  the  fortunes  of  the  Imperial 
army   on   the    north-east   of    the   city   began    to 

VOL.  IV.  Q 

226  Roman  Sorties. 

BOOKV.  decline.  The  Goths,  driven  to  bay  at  the  rampart 
'^'^'     of  their  camp,  formed  a  testudo  with  their  shields 

Generii      ^^^  succeeded  in   withstanding   the    Eoman  on- 

routofthe  gg^^  q^^(J  jtq  slajing  many  men  and  many  horses. 

army.  ^ho  smallness  of  the  attacking  army  became 
more  and  more  terribly  apparent  both  to  itself 
and  the  enemy ;  and  at  length  the  right  wing 
of  the  Gothic  cavalry,  bending  round,  charged 
the  Eomans  in  flank.  They  broke  and  fled.  The 
cavalry  reached  the  ranks  of  the  supporting  infan- 
try, who  did  not  support  them,  but  turned  and 
fled  likewise ;  and  soon  the  whole  Roman  army, 
horse  and  foot,  generals  and  common  soldiers,  were 
in  headlong  flight  toward  the  city  walls. 

Death  of         Like  Nolau  at  the  charge  of  Balaklava,  Prin- 

Principius       .     .  i      m 

and  Tar-  cipius  and  Tarmutus  atoned  by  a  brave  death 
for  the  disastrous  counsels  which  in  all  good  faith 
they  had  given  to  the  General.  With  a  little  knot 
of  faithful  friends  they  for  a  time  arrested  the 
headlong  torrent  of  the  Gothic  pursuit,  and  the 
delay  thus  caused  saved  numberless  lives  in  the 
Imperial  army.  Then  Principius  fell,  hacked  to 
pieces  by  countless  wounds,  and  forty-two  of  his 
brave  foot-soldiers  fell  around  him.  Tarmutus 
with  two  Isaurian  javelins  in  his  hand  long  kept 
the  enemy  at  bay.  He  found  his  strength  failing 
him,  and  was  just  about  to  sink  down  in  exhaustion, 
when  a  charge  of  his  brother  Ennes,  at  the  head 
of  some  of  his  cavalry,  gave  him  a  few  moments' 
relief  Then  plucking  up  heart  again,  he  shook 
himself  loose  from  his  pursuers  and  ran  at  full  speed 


Repulse  of  the  Imperial  Troops,  227 

(he  was  ever  swift  of  foot)  towards  the  walls  of  book  v. 

Ch  8 

the  City.     He  reached  the  Pincian  Gate,  pierced  1_ 

with  many  wounds  and  bedabbled  with  gore,  but  ^^^' 
still  holding  his  two  Isaurian  javelins  in  his  hand. 
At  the  gate  he  fell  down  fainting.  His  comrades 
thought  him  dead,  but  laid  him  on  a  shield  and 
bore  him  into  the  City.  He  was  not  dead,  how- 
ever :  he  still  breathed ;  but  two  days  afterwards 
he  expired  of  his  wounds,  leaving  a  name  memor- 
able to  the  whole  army,  but  especially  to  his  trusty 
Isaurian  comrades. 

The  soldiers  who  had  already  entered  the  City  The  fugi- 
tives under 
shut  the  gates  with  a  clash,  and  refused  to  let  the  shelter 

the  fugitives  enter,  lest  the  Goths  should  enter  listae. 
with  them.  Panic-stricken,  and  with  scarcelv  a 
thought  of  self-defence,  the  defeated  soldiers  hud- 
dled up  under  the  shelter  of  the  walls,  their  spears 
all  broken  or  cast  away  in  the  flight,  their  bows 
useless  by  reason  of  the  dense  masses  in  which 
they  were  packed  together.  The  Goths  appeared 
in  menacing  attitude  at  the  outer  edge  of  the  fosse. 
Had  they  poured  down  across  it,  as  they  were  at  first 
minded  to,  they  might  ha^ve  well-nigh  annihilated 
the  army  of  Belisarius.  But  when  they  saw  the 
citizens  and  the  soldiers  within  the  City  clustering 
more  thickly  upon  the  walls,  afraid  of  the  terrible 
balistae  they  retired,  indulging  only  in  the  luxury 
of  taunts  and  epithets  of  barbarian  scorn  hurled 
at  the  beaten  army. 

The  events  of  the  day  had  fully  justified  the 
intuitive  judgment  of  Belisarius.     The  besieged, 

Q  2 

228  Roman  Sorties, 

BOOKV.  though   terrible   in   skirmishes    and    sudden    ex- 

^"•^'     cursions,  were  too  few  in  number  for  a  pitched 

^^^'      battle.     *  The  fight,'  says  Procopius,  '  which  began 

at  the  camps  of  the  barbarians  ended  in  the  trench 

and  close  to  the  walls  of  the  City^' 

Theimpe-       After  this  disastrous  day  the  Imperial   troops 

revertTo    revcrtod  to  their  old  method  of  unexpected  sallies 

former       by  Small  bodies  of  troops,  and  practised  it  with 


much  of  their  former  success.  There  is  something 
of  a  Homeric,  something  of  a  mediaeval  character 
in  the  stories  which  Procopius  tells  us  of  this 
period  of  the  siege.  No  masses  of  troops  were 
engaged  on  either  side.  Infantry  were  unused, 
save  that  a  few  bold  and  fleet-footed  soldiers  gene- 
rally accompanied  the  horsemen.  Single  combats 
between  great  champions  on  horseback  on  either 
side  were  the  order  of  the  day. 

Thus  in  one  sally  the  general  Bessas  transfixed 
three  of  the  bravest  of  the  Gothic  horsemen  in  suc- 
cession with  his  spear,  and  with  little  aid  from  his 
followers  put  the  rest  of  their  squadron  to  flight. 
Brave        Thus  also  Chorsamautis,  a  Hun  and  one  of  the  body- 
chorsa-      guard  of  Belisarius,  in  a  charge  on  the  Neronian 
Plain  pursued  too  far,  and  was  separated  from  his 
comrades.   Seeing  this  the  Goths  closed  round  him, 
but  he,  standing  on  his  defence,  slew  the  foremost 
of  their  band.     They  wavered  and  fled  before  him. 
Drawing  near  to  the   walls   of  their   camp    and 
feeling  that  the  eyes  of  their  fellows  were  upon 
them,  they  turned,  for  very  shame  that  so  many 
^  Here  ends  the  First  Book  of  the  Gothic  War  of  Procopius. 

A  Drunken  Champion,  229 

should  be  chased  by  one.     Ao-ain  he  slew  their  book  v. 

Gh  8 

bravest,  and  again  they  fled.     Thus  he  pursued  l^ 

them  up  to  the  very  gates  of  the  camp,  and  then  ^'^^' 
returned  across  the  plain  unharmed.  Soon  after, 
in  another  combat,  a  Gothic  arrow  pierced  his  left 
thigh,  penetrating  even  to  the  bone.  The  army 
surgeons  insisted  upon  a  rest  of  several  days  after 
so  grave  an  injury,  but  the  sturdy  barbarian  bore 
with  impatience  so  long  a  seclusion  from  the 
delights  of  battle,  and  was  often  heard  to  murmur, 
*  I  will  make  those  Gothic  fellows  pay  for  my 
wounded  leg.'  Before  long  the  wound  healed  and 
he  was  out  of  the  doctors'  hands.  One  day  at  the 
noontide  meal,  according  to  his  usual  custom,  he 
became  intoxicated,  and  determined  that  he  would 
sally  forth  alone  against  the  enemy,  and,  as  he 
said  over  and  over  again  to  himself  in  the  thick 
tones  of  a  drunkard,  *make  them  pay  for  my  leg,' 
Eiding  down  to  the  Pincian  Gate  he  declared  that 
he  was  sent  by  the  General  to  go  forth  against  the 
enemy.  The  sentinels,  not  daring  to  challenge 
the  assertion  of  one  of  the  body-guard  of  Beli- 
sarius,  and  perhaps  not  perceiving  his  drunken 
condition,  allowed  him  to  pass  through  the  gate. 
When  the  Goths  saw  a  solitary  figure  riding  forth 
from  the  city  their  first  thought  was  '  Here  comes 
a  deserter,'  but  the  bent  bow  and  flying  arrows 
of  Chorsamantis  soon  undeceived  them.  Twenty 
of  them  came  against  him,  whom  he  easily  dis- 
persed. He  rode  leisurely  forward  to  the  camp. 
The  Eomans  from  the  ramparts,  not  recognising 

230  Roman  Sorties, 

BOOKV.  who  he  was,  took  him  for  some  madman.     Soon 

'        he  was  surrounded   by  the   outstreaming  Goths, 

^^^'      and  after  performing  prodigies  of  valour  fell  dead 

amid  a  ring  of  slaughtered  enemies,  leaving  a  name 

to  be  celebrated  for  many  a  day  in  the  camp-fire 

songs  of  his  savage  countrymen. 

In  reading  this  and  many  similar  stories  told 
us  by  Procopius  we  are  of  course  bound  to  re- 
member that  we  do  not  hear  the  Gothic  accounts 
of  their  own  exploits,  accounts  which  might  some- 
times exhibit  a  Gothic  champion  chasing  scores 
of  flying  Byzantines.  But  after  making  all  need- 
ful abatement  on  this  account,  we  shall  probably 
be  safe  in  supposing  that  the  balance  of  hardihood, 
of  wild  reckless  daring,  was  on  the  side  of  the 
Imperial  army.  Though  .the  members  of  it  called 
themselves  Komans  they  were  really  for  the  most 
part,  like  Chorsamantis,  barbarians,  fresher  from 
the  wilderness  than  the  Ostrogothic  soldiers,  every 
one  of  whom  had  been  born  and  bred  amid  the 
delights  of  Italy.  And  the  stern  stufl"  of  which 
the  Imperial  soldiers  were  made  was  tempered 
and  pointed  bj^-  what  still  remained  of  Koman 
discipline,  and  driven  by  the  matchless  skill  of 
Belisarius  straight  to  the  heart  of  the  foe. 
Constan-  On  another  occasion,  the  general  Constantino, 
his  Huns,  perhaps  desiriog  to  vie  with  the  achievements 
of  his  rival  Bessas,  sallied  out  with  a  small  body 
of  Huns  from  the  Porta  Aurelia  and  found  himself 
surrounded  by  a  large  troop  of  the  enemy.  To 
preserve  himself  from  being  attacked  on  all  sides 

Const antine  and  his  Huns.  231 

he  retreated  with  his  men  into  one  of  the  narrow  book  v. 

streets   opening   on   Nero's    Stadium  \     Here   his  *_1_ 

men,  dismounting,  discharged  their  arrows  at  the  ^^'' 
enemy,  who  menaced  them  from  the  opposite  ends 
of  the  street.  The  Goths  thought,  '  Their  quivers 
must  soon  be  empty,  and  then  we  will  rush  in 
upon  them  from  both  sides  and  destroy  them.' 
But  such  was  the  deadly  effect  of  the  Hunnish 
missiles  that  the  Goths  found  before  long  that 
their  number  was  reduced  more  than  one  half. 
Night  was  closing  in.  They  were  seized  with 
panic  and  fled.  The  pursuing  Huns  still  aimed 
their  deadly  arrows  at  the  backs  of  the  flying 
foe.  Thus,  after  effecting  a  frightful  slaughter 
among  the  Goths,  Constantino  with  his  *Massa- 
getic'  horsemen  returned  in  safety  to  Home  that 
night  ^. 

At   another  time   it  befell   that   Peranius,    the  The  Roman 
general  who  came  from  the  slopes  of   Caucasus,  Goth  in 
headed  a  sortie  from  the  Salarian  Gate.     It  was  magazine. 
at  first  successful,  and  the  Goths  fled  before  the 

^  The  exact  position  of  this  '  Stadium  of  Nero '  does  not 
seem  to  be  clearly  ascertained.  Canina  (Edifizi,  iii.  54)  makes 
it  the  same  building  as  the  Cajanum  or  Stadium  of  Caligula 
and  places  it  on  the  site  of  the  Vatican  Palace.  We  might 
have  thought  this  too  lofty  a  position  for  a  building  which  was 
61/  Nepcopos  TreBia :  but  Procopius  seems  to  apply  this  term 
(equivalent  to  Campus  Neronianus)  to  a  large  tract  of  country 
on  the  right  bank  of  the  Tiber,  stretching  from  the  Ponte 
Molle  to  St.  Peter's. 

^  Procopius,  De  Bell.  Gotth.  ii.  i.  This  is  one  of  the  many 
passages  which  show  that  Procopius  uses  the  name  Massagetae 
as  equivalent  to  Huns. 


232  Roman  Sorties. 

BOOKV.  Romans.     Then,  when  the  sun  was  going  down, 

Ch  8 

'—  the  tide  of  battle  turned.     An   Imperial  soldier 

flying  headlong  before  the  Goths  fell  unawares 
into  an  underground  vault  prepared  by  'the  Ro- 
mans of  old'  as  a  magazine  for  corn.  Unable 
to  climb  the  steep  sides  of  the  vault,  and  afraid 
to  call  for  help,  he  passed  all  night  in  that  con- 
finement, in  evil  case.  Next  day  another  Roman 
sortie,  more  successful  than  the  last,  sent  the 
Goths  flying  over  the  same  tract  of  country,  and 
lo !  a  Gothic  soldier  fell  headlong  into  the  same 
vault.  The  two  companions  in  misfortune  began 
to  consult  as  to  their  means  of  escape,  and  bound 
themselves  by  solemn  vows  each  to  be  as  careful 
for  his  companion's  safety  as  his  own.  Then  they 
both  sent  up  a  tremendous  shout,  which  was 
heard,  as  it  chanced,  by  a  band  of  Gothic  soldiers. 
They  came,  they  peeped  over  the  mouth  of  the 
vault,  and  asked  in  Gothic  tongue  who  ever  was 
shouting  from  that  darksome  hole.  The  Goth 
alone  replied,  told  his  tale,  and  begged  his  com- 
rades to  deliver  him  from  that  horrible  pit.  They 
let  down  ropes  into  the  vault,  the  ropes  were 
made  fast,  they  hauled  up  a  man  out  of  the 
pit,  and  to  their  astonishment  a  Roman  soldier 
stood  before  them.  The  Roman — who  had  saga- 
ciously argued  that  if  his  companion  came  up  first 
no  Gothic  soldiers  would  trouble  themselves  to 
haul  up  liim — explained  the  strange  adventure 
and  besought  them  to  lower  the  ropes  again  for 
their  own  comrade.     They  did  so,  and  when  the 



The  friendly  Enemies.  233 

Goth  was  drawn  up  he  told  them  of  his  plighted  book  v. 
faith,  and  entreated  them  to  let  his  companion  in 
danger  go  free.  They  complied,  and  the  Roman 
returned  unharmed  to  the  City.  As  Ariosto  sings 
of  Ferrau  and  Rinaldo,  when  those  fierce  enemies 
agreed  to  roam  together  in  search  of  Angelica, 
who  was  beloved  by  both  of  them, — 

'0  gran  bonta  de'  cavalieri  antiqui! 
Eran  rivali,  eran  di  f^  diversi, 
E  si  sentian  degli  aspri  colpi  iniqui. 
Per  tutta  la  persona  anco  dolersi ; 
E  pur  per  selve  oscure,  e  calli  obliqui 
Insieme  van,  senza  aspetto  aversi  \' 

A  breath  of  the  age  of  chivalry  seems  wafted  over 
the  savage  battle-field,  as  we  read  of  the  vow 
between  the  two  deadly  enemies  in  the  vault 
so  loyally  observed,  and  we  half  persuade  ourselves 
that  we  perceive  another  aura  from  that  still 
future  age  when  men  everywhere,  recognising  that 
they  have  all  fallen  into  the  same  pit  of  ruin  and 
longing  for  deliverance,  shall  listen  to  the  voice  of 
the  Divine  Reconciler,  *  Sirs,  ye  are  brethren  :  why 
do  ye  wrong  one  to  another  % ' 

The   month   of   June   was   now   be^un.      The  Euthaiius 

brings  pay 
to  the  Im- 

combatants  had  reached  the  third  month  of  the  to  the  im. 

siege  and  had  finished  two  years  of  the  war.     A 

*  '  Oh  loyal  knights  of  that  long  vanished  day ! 

Their  faiths  were  two,  they  wooed  one  woman's  smile, 
And  still  they  felt  rude  tokens  of  their  fray, 

The  blows  which  each  on  other  rained  erewhile : 
Yet  through  dark  woods  by  paths  that  seemed  to  stray 
They  rode,  and  each  nor  feared  nor  harboured  guile.' 

(Orlando  Furioso,  i.  22.) 

234  Roman  Sorties. 

BOOKv.  certain  Euthalius  had  landed  at  Tarracina^  bring- 

ing  from  Byzantium  some  much-needed  treasure 

^.,  .^^?"      for  the  pay  of  the  soldiers.     In  order  to  secure 
to  cover     fQj.  j^j^q   ^nd  for   his    escort  of   loo  men  a  safe 

ms  en- 
trance,      entrance    at    nightfall    into    the     city,    Belisarius 

harassed  the  enemy  through  the  long  summer's 
day  with  incessant  expectations  of  attack,  ex- 
pectations which,  after  the  soldiers  had  taken 
their  mid-day  meal,  were  converted  into  realities. 
As  usual  the  attacks  were  made  on  both  sides, 
from  the  Pincian  Gate  and  over  the  Neronian 
Plain.  At  the  former  place  the  Eomans  were 
commanded  by  three  of  Belisarius  s  guards,  the 
Persian  Artasines,  Buchas  the  Hun,  and  Cutila 
the  Thracian.  The  tide  of  war  rolled  backwards 
and  forwards  many  times,  and  many  succours 
poured  forth  both  from  the  City  and  from  the 
Gothic  camp,  over  both  of  which  the  shouts  and 
the  din  of  battle  resounded.  At  length  the  Romans 
stoicism  of  prevailed,  and  drove  back  their  foes.  In  this 
Arzes.  actiou  the  splendid  contempt  of  pain  shown  by 
Cutila  and  by  a  brother-guardsman  Arzes  greatly 
impressed  the  mind  of  Procopius.  Cutila  had  been 
wounded  by  a  javelin  which  lodged  in  his  skull. 
He  still  took  part  in  the  fight,  and  at  sunset  rode 
back  with  his  comrades  to  the  city,  the  javelin 
nodding  to  and  fro  in  his  head  with  every  move- 
ment of  his  body.  Arzes  had  received  a  Gothic 
arrow  at  the  angle  of  the  eye  and  nose,  which 
came  with  such  violence  that  it  almost  penetrated 
^  On  the  Appian  Way,  sixty-two  miles  from  Kome. 

The  Treasure  brought  into  Rome.         235 
to  the  nape  of  his  neck.     He  too  rode   back  to  book  v. 

Ch   8 

Eome,  like  Cutila  apparently  heedless  of  the  weapon  1_^ 

which  was  shaking  in  the  wound.  ^^^' 

Meanwhile  thinsrs  were  groins:  ill   with  Martin  Exploits  of 

^  &        &  ^  Buchas. 

and  Valerian,  who  commanded  the  Imperial  troops 
on  the  Neronian  Plain.  They  were  surrounded  by 
large  numbers  of  the  enemy,  and  seemed  on  the 
point  of  being  overwhelmed  by  them.  At  this 
crisis — it  was  now  growing  late — an  opportune 
charge  under  Buchas  the  Hun,  withdrawn  for  this 
purpose  from  the  sortie  on  the  other  side  of  the 
city,  saved  the  day.  Buchas  himself  performed 
prodigies  of  valour.  For  a  long  time  he  alone, 
though  still  but  a  stripling,  kept  twelve  of  the 
enemy  at  bay.  At  length  one  Goth  was  able  to 
deal  him  a  slight  wound  under  the  right  arm-pit, 
and  another,  a  more  serious  wound,  transversely, 
through  the  muscles  of  the  thigh.  By  this  time, 
however,  he  and  his  men  had  restored  the  fortunes 
of  the  Imperial  troops.  Valerian  and  Martin  rode 
up  with  speed,  scattered  the  barbarians  who  sur- 
rounded Buchas,  and  led  him  home  between  them, 
each  holding  one  of  his  reins. 

The  object  of  all  this  bloody  skirmishing  was  Euthaiius 
attained.     Euthaiius  w^th  the  treasure,  creeping  treasure 
along   the    Appian    Way,    stole   at   nightfall,   un-  into  the 
perceived,  into  the  City.     When  all  were  returned   ^  ^" 
within  the  walls,   the    wounded   heroes    were   of 
course  attended  to ;   and  Procopius,  insatiable  in 
his  desire  to  widen  his  experience  of  human  life, 
seems  to  have  visited  the  surgical  wards.     The 

236  Roman  Sorties, 

BOOK  V.  case  of  Arzes,  who  was  looked  upon  as  one  of  the 
^'        bravest  men  in  the  household  of  BeHsarius,  gave 
^^^'      the  surgeons  much  anxious  thought.     To  save  the 
sight  of  the  eye  they  held  to  be  altogether  im- 
possible ;  but  moreover  they  feared  that  the  lace- 
ration of  the  multitude  of  nerves  through  which 
the  arrow  must  be  drawn,  if  it  were   extracted, 
The  life     would  cause  the  death  of  the  patient.  A  physician, 
saved!^^     Theoctistus  by  name,  pressed  his  finger  on   the 
nape  of  his  neck  and  asked  if  that  gave  him  pain. 
When  Arzes  replied  that  it  did,  Theoctistus  gave 
him  the  glad  assurance,   *  Then  we  shall  be  able 
to    save   your   life   and   your  eye  too.'     At  once 
cutting  off  the  feather  end  of  the  arrow  where  it 
projected  from  the  face,  the  surgeons  dissected  the 
comparatively   unsensitive  tissues  at  the  end  of 
the  neck  till  they  grasped  the  triangular  point  of 
the  arrow,  and  drawing  it  out  endways  gave  the 
patient  but  little  pain  and  left  him  with  his  eye 
Death  of    uuinjurod  and  his  face  unscarred.     The  cases  of 
Buchas.      Cutila   and   Buchas   terminated    less    favourably. 
When  the  javehn  was  drawn  from  the  head  of 
the  former  he  fainted.     Inflammation  of  the  mem- 
branes of  the  brain ^  set  in,  followed  by  delirium, 
and  he  died  not  many  days  after.     Buchas   also 
died  after  three  days,  of  the  terrible  hemorrhage 
from  his  wounded  thigh.     The  physicians  assured 
Procopius  that  had  the  lance  penetrated  straight 
in,  his  life  might  have  been  preserved,  but  the 
transverse  wound  was  fatal. 

^   'Eyret  hi  o\  (f)Xcyfiaiu€ip  ol  rrjde  firjviyyes  ^p^avTo, 

Hospital  Scenes.  237 

The  deaths  of  these  heroes  filled  the  Eoman  book  v. 

Oh   8 

army  with  sorrow,  which  was  only  mitigated  by        ' 
the  sounds  of  lamentation  arising:  from  the  Gothic  ^  ^^?' 

o  Gothic 

camp.      These   bewailings,   not   previously   heard  i^"^®'^**- 
after  much  fiercer  encounters,  were  due   to    the 
exalted  rank  of  the  warriors  who  had  fallen  by 
the  sword  of  Buchas. 

Such  were  some  of  the  sallies  and  skirmishes 
which  occurred  in  this  memorable  siege.  Sixty-nine 
encounters  in  all  took  place,  and  Procopius  wisely 
remarks  that  it  is  not  needftil  for  him  to  give 
the  details  of  all  of  them.  He  himself,  as  we  shall 
soon  see,  left  the  scene  of  action  for  a  time ;  and 
for  some  months  of  the  remainder  of  the  siege 
we  miss  the  minute  descriptive  touches  (though 
some  readers  may  find  them  tedious)  which  reveal 
the  personal  presence  of  the  historian  in  the  earlier 
acts  of  the  great  drama. 




BOOKV.  Sources:— 

Ch  9 
L_       pROcopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  ii.  3-10. 

537-  For  Papal  history,  the  so-called  Anastasius  Bibliothe- 

carius,  Vita  Silverii  (apud  Muratori,  iii.  129-130),  and  the 

Breviarium  of  Liberatus,  cap.  xxii. 

The  Cam-       In  the  terrible  struggle  of  the  Thirty  Years' 

Famine,     War   there    was    a    memorable    interlude    when 

^  ^^'         Gustavus    Adolphus    and    Wallenstein    watched 

one  another  for  eleven  weeks  before  the  walls  of 

Nuremberg,   the    Swede    in   vain    attempting    to 

storm   the   intrenchments  of  the  Bohemian,  the 

Bohemian  hoping  that  famine  and  pestilence  would 

force  the  Swede  to  move  off  and  leave  Nuremberg 

to  his  mercy.     That  '  Campaign  of  Famine'  was 

virtually  a   drawn   game.     Gustavus   was   forced 

to  evacuate  his  position,  but  Wallenstein's  army 

was  so  weakened  by  hunger  and  disease  that  he 

had  to  leave  the  famine-stricken  city  unattacked. 

Doubtful        Somewhat  similar  to  this  was  the  position   of 

issue  of  . 

the  contest,  the  two  armics  that  now  struggled  for  the  pos- 
session of  Kome.  It  was  clear  that  the  Goths 
could  not  carry  the  defences  of  the  City  by 
simply  rushing  up  to  them  in  undisciplined  valour 

Limos  and  Loimos,  239 

with  their  rude  engines  of  war,  and  seeking  to  book  v. 
swarm  over  them.  It  was  equally  clear  that  — 1— 
the  little  band  of  Belisarius  could  not  beat  off  ^^'^' 
the  enemy  by  a  pitched  battle  on  the  plains  of 
the  Campagna.  The  siege  must  therefore  become 
a  mere  blockade,  and  the  question  was  which  party 
in  the  course  of  this  blockade  would  be  soonest 
exhausted.  In  the  course  of  the  Crimean  War 
a  Kussian  diplomatist  uttered  the  famous  saying, 
*  My  master  has  three  good  generals,  and  their 
names  are  January,  February,  and  March.'  Even 
so  in  the  dread  conflict  that  was  impending,  two 
spectral  forms,  each  marshalling  a  grim  and 
shadowy  army,  were  to  stalk  around  the  walls 
of  the  City  and  the  six  camps  of  the  Goths. 
They  would  fight  on  both  sides,  but  the  terrible 
question  for  Belisarius  and  for  Witlgis  was,  to 
which  side  would  they  lend  the  more  effectual 
aid.  The  names  of  these  two  invisible  champions 
were  Limos  and  Loimos  (Famine  and  Pestilence). 

Kecognising  the  changed  character  of  the  siege,  The  inter- 
Witigis  took  one  step  which  he  would  have  done  the  aque- 
well  to  have  taken  three  months  before,  towards  fied  by  the 
completing  the  blockade  of  Kome.  About  three  and 
a-half  miles  from  the  city^  there  is  a  point  now 
marked  by  a  picturesque  mediaeval  tower  called 
Torre  Fiscale,  where  two  great  lines  of  aqueducts 
cross  one  another,  run  for  about  500  yards  side  by 

^  Procopius  says  fifty  stadia,  but  his  memory  has  clearly  played 
him  false.  Torre  Fiscale  is  a  little  less  than  thirty  stadia  from 


240  The  Blockade. 

BOOKv.  side,  and  then  cross  again.  The  lofty  arcade  of 
^'  the  Anio  Yetus  and  Claudia  is  one  of  these  lines, 
running  at  first  to  the  south  of  its  companion, 
then  north,  and  then  south  again.  The  other  is 
the  arcade  of  the  Marcian,  Tepulan,  and  Julian 
waters,  which  has  been  used  by  Pope  Sixtus  V 
as  the  support  of  his  hastily-constructed  aqueduct, 
the  Aqua  Felice.  Even  now,  in  their  ruined  state, 
these  long  rows  of  lofty  arches,  crossing  and  re- 
crossing  one  another,  wear  an  aspect  of  solemn 
strength  ;  and  were  a  battle  to  be  fought  over  this 
ground  to-day  they  might  play  no  unimportant 
part  in  the  struggle  of  the  contending  armies. 
Here  then  the  Goths,  filling  up  the  lower  arches 
with  clay  and  rubble,  fashioned  for  themselves 
a  fortress,  rude  perchance,  but  of  considerable 
strength.  They  placed  in  it  a  garrison  of  7000 
men,  who  commanded  not  only  the  Via  Latina 
(which  was  absolutely  close  to  the  aqueducts),  but 
also  the  Via  Appia^  (which  runs  nearly  parallel 
to  the  Latina  at  about  a  mile's  distance),  so  effec- 
tually that  the  transport  of  provisions  to  Eome 
along  either  of  those  roads  seems  to  have  become 
practically  impossible. 

When  the  citizens  saw  these  two  great  roads 

^  Procopius  says  that  the  intersection  of  the  aqueducts  was 
between  the  Appian  and  Latin  Ways.  This,  however,  must  be 
a  slight  lapse  of  memory  on  his  part,  like  his  overstatement  of 
the  distance  from  Eome,  since  Torre  Fiscale  is  actually  upon 
the  Via  Latina  or  quite  close  to  it.  S.  Lanciani  assures  me 
that  there  is  no  place  'precisely  answering  to  the  description  by 
Procopius  at  all  suitable  for  the  purpose. 

Sibylline  Prophecies,  241 

to  the  south  blocked,  discouragement  began  to  fill  book  v. 
their  hearts.     They  had  long  looked  forward  to        ' 
the  month  of  Quintilis^ — that  month  which  ^Iso  j^.  ^^^* 
bore  the  name  of  the  o-reat  Julius,  and  in  which  yagement 

^  m  the  city. 

they  had  celebrated  for  a  thousand  years  the 
victory  of  the  Lake  Regillus — as  the  month  of 
their  deliverance  from  the  Goths ;  and  indeed  a  sibyiiine 
prophecy  of  the  Sibyl  was  in  circulation  among 
the  remnant  of  the  Patricians  which  intimated 
not  very  obscurely  that  this  should  come  to  pass^. 

^  '  And  in  Eome  certain  of  the  Patricians  produced  oracles  Procopius 
of  the  Sibyl  affirming  that  the  danger  of  the  city  should  con-  J^,    ^^mq 
tinue  only  till  the  month  of  July.     For  then  a  king  was  to  prophecies, 
arise  for  the  Romans,  by  whose  means  the  Getic  fear  was  to  be 
removed  in  future  from  Rome.    But  the  Getae  mean  the  Goths. 
This  was  how  the  oracle  ran  : — 

Quintili     Mense  venio  % 

NH2I   rP   SOENmiHY   ETI   20   niAHIETA  ' 

(De  B.  G.  i.  24;  p.  117.) 

The  absolute  unintelligibility  of  these  lines  probably  arises 
from  their  being  Latin  words  copied  and  corrujoted  by  a  series 
of  Greek  scribes  who  did  not  understand  Latin.  The  kqi's  are 
perhaps  put  in  by  Procopius  himself  to  connect  some  frag- 
mentary utterances.  We  seem  able  to  distinguish  Quintili 
Mense  at  the  beginning,  but  of  the  words  *  Roma  nihil  Geticum 
metuet,'  which  should  come  at  the  end,  I  cannot  see  any  trace. 

Procopius  goes  on  to  explain  that  Quintilis  meant  July,  but, 
as  he  says,  the  whole  prophecy  was  fallacious,  for  no  deliverance 
was  wrought  in  that  month ;  no  king  arose  to  save  Rome ; 
and  afterwards  she  suffered  as  much  '  Getic  terror '  under 
Totila  as  she  had  ever  done  under  Witigis.  But,  he  continues, 
it  is  quite  impossible  to  understand  any  prophecy  of  the  Sibyl 
till  after  the  event.  For  she  observes  no  order  in  her  predic- 
tions, but  rushes  about  so  wildly  from  Libya  to  Persia  and  from 
Rome  to  Assyria,  and  then  from  Assyria  darts  off  so  strangely 
VOL.  IV.  R 

242  The  Blockade, 

BOOKV.  Yet  Qum tills  with  its  burning  heat  had  come, 
^'        was    passing   away,    and    still    the    yellow-haired 

Famfie      barbarians  clustered  about  the  walls.     So  long  as 

beginning.  ^^  crops  stood  in  the  Campagna  some  slight 
mitigation  of  the  impending  famine  was  afforded 
by  bands  of  daring  horsemen  who  rode  forth  at 
nightfall,  hurriedly  reaped  the  standing  ears,  laid 
them  on  their  horses'  backs,  and  galloped  back  to 
Kome  to  sell  the  furtive  harvest  at  a  high  price 
to  the  wealthy  citizens.  But  now  even  this  re- 
source was  beginning  to  fail,  and  all  the  citizens, 
'  rich  and  poor  alike,  were  being  reduced  to  live 
on  the  grass  which,  as  Procopius  remarks,  always, 
in  winter  and  summer  alike,  covers  with  its  green 
robe  the  land  of  the  Komans.  For  animal  food 
the  resource  of  the  moment  was  to  make  a  kind 
of  sausage  out  of  the  flesh  of  the  army-mules 
which  had  died  of  disease.  Thus  was  the  General, 
LimoSy  beginning  to  show  himself  in  great  force 
on  the  side  hostile  to  Eome. 

Deputa-         Belisarius,  who  was  already  sorely  harassed  by 

tion  from        i  n    .i         •  •  t  rv*       i    •  p 

the  citizens  the  daily  mcreasmg   diinculties   oi   commissariat, 
rius.  had  the  additional  vexation  of  receiving,  one  day, 

an  embassy  from  the  hunger-stricken  Eomans. 
They  told  him  in  plain  words  that  the  patriotism 
and  the  loyalty  to  the  Empire,  on  which  they 
prided  themselves  when  they  opened  to  him  the 

to  describe  the  sufferings  of  Britain,  that  it  is  quite  beyond  the 
human  intellect  to  understand  her  meaning  till  time  has  made 
it  clear.     This  last  hint  that  the  Sibylline  prophecies  included 

Britain  is  important  {kuX  ttoXlv<p\  'Pco/zaiot?  yLavrevoixev-q  npoXeyd 
TO.  BpcTTavwv  TTiWr]). 

Roman  Deputation  to  Belisarius.         243 

gates  of  the  city,  now  seemed  to  them  the   ex-  book  v. 
tremity  of  foolishness.     They  felt  that  they  were  '  '  . 

*  Cursed  with  the  burden  of  a  granted  prayer,'  ^^'' 

and  longed  for  nothing  so  much  as  to  be  put  back 
into  the  same  happy  state  they  were  in,  before  a 
soldier  from  Byzantium  showed  his  face  among 
them.  But  that  now  could  never  be.  Their 
estates  in  the  country  round  were  wasted.  The 
city  was  so  shut  up  that  none  of  the  necessaries 
of  life  could  enter  it.  Many  of  their  fellow- citizens 
were  already  dead ;  and  upon  these  they  thought 
with  envy,  wishing  that  they  could  be  laid  quietly 
underground  beside  them.  Hunger  made  them 
bold  to  speak  thus  to  the  mighty  Belisarius. 
Hunger  made  every  other  evil  that  they  had  ever 
endured  seem  light.  The  thought  of  death  by 
hunger  made  any  other  mode  of  death  seem 
a  delightful  prospect.  In  one  word,  let  him  lead 
them  forth  against  the  enemy,  and  they  promised 
that  he  should  not  find  them  fail  from  his  side 
in  the  stress  of  battle. 

With  a  haughty  smile  and  a  profession  of  equa-  Answer  of 
nimity  which  masked  his  real  discouragement, 
Belisarius  replied :  '  I  have  expected  all  the  events 
that  have  occurred  in  this  siege,  and  among  them 
some  such  proposal  as  this  of  yours.  I  know  what 
the  populace  is  ;  fickle,  easily  discouraged,  always 
ready  to  suggest  impossible  enterprises,  and  to 
throw  away  real  advantages.  I  have  no  intention, 
however,  of  complying  with  your  counsels,  and  so 
sacrificing  the  interests  of  my  master  and  your 

B  2 

244  The  Blockade.    • 

BOOK  V.  lives  as  well.  We  do  not  make  war  in  this  way 
^^'  ^'  bv  a  series  of  ill-considered,  spasmodic  efforts. 
•^^^'  War  is  a  matter  of  calm  and  serious  calculation, 
and  my  calculations  of  the  game  tell  me  that  to 
wait  is  our  present  policy.  You  are  anxious  to 
hazard  all  upon  a  single  throw  of  the  dice,  but 
it  is  not  my  habit  to  take  any  such  short  cuts 
to  success.  You  announce  that  you  are  williug 
to  go  with  me  to  battle.  Pray  when  did  you 
learn  your  drill  \  Have  you  never  heard  that  a 
certain  amount  of  practice  is  necessary  to  enable 
men  to  fight ;  and  do  you  imagine  that  the  enemy 
will  be  kind  enough  to  wait  while  you  are  learning 
how  to  use  your  weapons  ?  Still,  I  thank  you 
for  your  readiness  to  fight,  and  I  praise  the  martial 
Reinforce-  spirit  which  now  animates  you.  To  explain  to 
mised.  you  some  of  my  reasons  for  delay,  I  will  inform 
you  that  the  largest  armament  ever  sent  forth  by 
the  Empire  has  been  collected  by  Justinian  out 
of  every  land,  and  is  now  covering  the  Ionian 
Gulf  and  the  Campanian  shore.  In  a  few  days 
I  trust  they  will  be  with  us,  relieving  your 
necessities  by  the  supplies  which  they  will  bring, 
and  burying  the  barbarians  under  the  multitude 
of  their  darts.  Now  retire.  I  forgive  you  for  the 
impatience  which  you  have  shown,  and  I  proceed 
to  my  arrangements  for  hastening  the  arrival  of 
the  reinforcements.' 

Having  with  these  boastful  words  revived  the 
spirits  of  the  Komans,  the  General  despatched  the 
trusty  Procopius  to  Naples  to  find  out  what  truth 

Procopius  mid  Antonina  in  Naples.       245 

there   might  be  in  the  rumours  of  coming  help,  book  v. 

The  historian  set  out  at  nightfall,  escorted  by  the 

p;uardsman  Mundilas  with  a  small  body  of  horse.  ^  ^^^'. 

»  '1  rrocopius 

The  little  party  stole  out  of  the  Porta  San  Paolo,  despatched 

y-         'J  'to  Naples. 

escaped  the  notice  of  the  Gothic  garrison  at  Torre 
Fiscale,  and  felt  themselves,  before  long,  past  the 
danger  of  pursuit  by  the  barbarians.  Procopius 
then  dismissed  his  escort  and  proceeded  un- 
attended to  Naples.  Soon  the  GeneraFs  wife  Antonina 
Antonina  followed  him  thither,  under  the  escort 
of  Martin  and  Trajan,  partly  in  order  that  Beli- 
sarius  might  know  that  she  was  in  a  place  of 
safety,  but  also  that  her  considerable  adminis- 
trative talents  might  be  employed  in  organising 
expeditions  of  relief.  Certainly  they  did  not  find 
that  vast  Byzantine  host  darkening  all  the  bays 
of  Magna  Graecia  of  which  Belisarius  had  bragged 
to  the  Boman  populace.  But  they  did  find  in 
Campania  a  considerable  number  of  unemployed 
cavalry  ^ ;  they  also  found  that  it  was  possible 
safely  to  diminish  some  of  the  Campanian  and 
Apulian  garrisons,  and  above  all,  as  the  Komans 
had  command  of  the  eea,  it  was  easy  to  collect 
a  goodly  number  of  well-loaded  provision-ships. 
Procopius  alone,  before  he  was  joined  by  Antonina, 
had  forwarded  five  hundred  soldiers  to  Eome, 
together  with  a  great  number  of  provision-ships, 
which  possibly  unloaded  their  cargoes  at  Ostia. 

'  I  do  not  quite  understand  what  Procopius  means  when  he 

says   (p.    159)   that    these    men   ^    tTTTrwi/    (pvXaicrjs    eveKa    rj    nXXov 
oTovovp  ivravOa  XeXelcbdai. 

246  The  Blockade. 

BOOK  V.       During  the  time,  probably  lasting  four  months 

'_L  (July  to  November),  that  Procopius  was  engaged 

The^Mosaic  ^^  ^^^'^  important  mission,  we  miss  (as  has  been 
do^^""  already  remarked)  all  the  minutely  graphic  touches 
of  his  pen  as  to  the  siege  of  Kome,  and  these 
are  not  compensated  by  much  that  is  interesting 
as  to  his  stay  at  Neapolis.  He  saw  there  the 
remains  of  a  fine  mosaic  picture  of  Theodoric 
which  had  been  set  up  in  that  monarch's  reign ^ 
Apparently  the  cement  with  which  the  little 
coloured  stones  were  fastened  to  the  wall  was 
badly  made.  The  head  had  fallen  shortly  before 
Theodoric's  death  ;  eight  years  after,  the  breast 
and  belly  had  fallen,  and  Athalaric  had  died  a 
few  days  afterward.  The  fall  of  the  part  repre- 
senting the  loins  had  preceded  only  by  a  little 
space  the  murder  of  Amalasuntha.  And  now  the 
legs  and  feet  had  also  fallen,  evidently  showing 
that  the  whole  Gothic  monarchy  was  shortly  to 
come  to  an  end. 
Procopius       j^  ^^^3  a,t  this  time  also  that  Procopius  studied 

describes  •*■ 

Vesuvius,  the  volcanic  phenomena  of  Vesuvius,  whose  sullen 
caprices  he  describes  very  much  in  the  lan- 
guage that  would  be  used  by  a  modern  traveller. 
When  he  was  there  the  mountain  was  bellowing 
in  its  well-known  savage  style,  but  had  not  yet 
begun  to  fling  up  its  lava-stream ;  though  this 
was  daily  expected.  The  upper  part  was  exces- 
sively steep,  the  lower  densely  wooded.  Tn  the 
summit  there  was  a  cave  so  deep  that  it  seemed 
'  i.  24  (p.  117). 

Mount  Vesuvius.  247 

to  reach  down  to  the  very  roots  of  the  moun-  book  v. 

Ch.  9. 

tain,  and  in  that  cave,  if  one  dared  to  bend 
over  and  look  in,  one  could  see  the  fire.  People  ^^^' 
still  kept  alive  the  remembrance  of  the  great 
eruption  of  472  ^,  even  as  they  now  speak  with 
awe  of  the  eruption  which  occurred  exactly 
fourteen  centuries  later,  and  point  out  to  the 
traveller  the  wide-wasting  desolation  caused  by 
the  *lava  di  settanta  due.'  In  that  earlier  eruption 
the  light  volcanic  stones  were  carried  as  far  as 
Constantinople,  so  alarming  the  citizens  that  (as 
was  mentioned  in  the  last  volume^)  an  annual 
ceremony  (something  hke  the  Kogations  in  the 
Church  at  Yienne)  was  instituted  for  deliverance 
from  this  peril.  By  another  eruption  the  stones 
were  thrown  as  far  as  Tripoli  in  Africa.  But 
Vesuvius  upon  the  whole  had  not  an  evil  repu- 
tation. The  husbandmen  had  observed  that  when 
it  was  in  a  state  of  activity  their  crops  of  all  kinds 
were  more  abundant  than  in  other  years  :  and  the 
fine  pure  air  of  the  mountain  was  deemed  so  con- 
ducive to  health  that  physicians  sent  consumptive 
patients  to  dwell  upon  its  flanks. 

Leaving  Procopius  and  Antonina  at  Naples,  we  Beiisarius 
return  with   their  escorts  to  Bome.     Great  joy  hem^n  tL 
was  brought  to  the  citizens  when  Mundilas  re- 
ported   that    the    Appian    Way    was    practically 
clear  by  night,  the  Goths  not   venturing  to  stir 
far   from   their   aqueduct    fortress    after    sunset. 

^  The  date  is  fixed  by  Marcellinus  Comes  (Roncalli,  ii.  296). 
2  Vol.  iii.  p.  455. 

248  The  Blockade, 

BOOKV.  Belisarius  heoce  inferred  that  while  still  post- 
^^'^'  poning  a  general  engagement  he  n:iight  adopt  a 
^^^'  somewhat  bolder  poHcy  with  the  enemy,  a  polic}^ 
which  would  make  them  besieged  as  well  as 
besiegers.  Martin  and  Trajan,  after  they  had 
escorted  Antonina  on  the  road  to  Naples,  were 
directed  to  take  up  their  quarters  at  Tarracina. 
Gontharis  and  a  band  of  Herulians  occupied  the 
yet  nearer  post  of  Albano,  situated,  like  Tarracina, 
on  the  Appian  Way,  but  at  only  one-fourth  of  the 
distance  from  Eome^ 

Tivoii  Albano,  it  is  true,  was  before  long  taken  by  the 

occupied.      ^      ,  ^  ^'  n 

Goths,  but  the  general  policy  of  encompassing, 
"harassing,  and  virtually  besieging  the  besiegers 
remained  successful.  Magnus,  one  of  the  generals 
of  cavalry,  and  Sinthues, .  another  of  the  brave 
guardsmen  of  Belisarius,  were  sent  up  the  Anio 
valley  to  Tibur.  They  occupied  and  repaired  the 
old  citadel  which  stood  where  Tivoii  now  stands, 
surrounded  by  the  steaming  cascades  of  Anio, 
and,  from  this  coign  of  vantage,  by  their  frequent 
excursions  grievously  harassed  the  barbarians, 
whose  reserves  were  perhaps  quartered  not  far 
from  the  little  town.  In  one  of  these  forays 
Sinthues  had  the  sinews  of  his  right  hand  severed 
by  a  spear-thrust,  and  was  thus  disabled  from 
actual  fighting  ever  after. 
Basilica  of  On  the  southcrn  side  of  Eome  the  Basilica  of 
occupied.  St.  Paul,  counectcd  by  its  long  colonnade  with 
the    Ostian  Gate  of  the  city   (where  stands    the 

^  Fourteen  miles  instead  of  sixty-two. 

Malaria  in  the  Gothic  Camps.  249 

pyramid  of  Caius  Cestius),  and  protected  on  one  book  v. 
side   by    the   stream    of   the    Tiber,   furnished    a  ' 

capital  stronghold,  but  one  which,  from  religious  ^^^' 
reasons,  the  Goths  had  hitherto  refrained  from 
including  in  their  sphere  of  operations  \  The 
orthodox  Belisarius  was  troubled  with  no  such 
scruples.  All  the  Huns  in  his  army — the  Huns 
were  still  heathen — were  sent  thither  under  the 
command  of  Valerian  to  form  a  camp  between 
the  Basilica  and  the  river.  Here  they  could  both 
obtain  forage  for  their  own  horses  and  grievously 
interfere  with  the  foraging  excursions  of  the 
Goths  from  their  fortress  at  Torre  Fiscale.  In 
truth,  hunger,  as  the  result  of  all  these  operations 
of  Belisarius,  was  now  beginning  to  tell  severely 
on  the  unwieldy  Gothic  host.     And  not  Hun2:er  Pestilence 

•^  .  ^        in  the 

only  :  the  other  great  general,  Pestilence,  began  to  Gothic 
lay  his  hand  heavily  on  the  barbarians.  He  was 
present  in  all  their  camps,  but  in  none  more  ter- 
ribly than  in  the  new  one  between  the  Aqueducts. 
At  length  that  stronghold  had  to  be  abandoned, 
and  the  dwindled  remnant  of  its  defenders  returned 
to  the  camps  nearer  Eome.  The  deadly  malaria  ^^^  among 
had  communicated  itself  also  to  the  Huns  in  their 
trenches  by  S.  Paolo,  and  they  too  returned  to 
Eome.  Already  we  seem  to  perceive  in  the  sixth 
century  the  phenomenon  with  which  we  are  so 

^  '  To  neither  of  the  Apostles'  temples  during  the  whole 
period  of  the  war  was  any  unkind  act  done  by  the  Goths,  but 
all  the  accustomed  sacred  rites  continued  to  be  performed  in 
them  by  the  priests'  (p.  i6o). 

250  The  Blockade. 

BooKV.  familiar  in  the  nineteenth,  that  the  malaria  is  more 
^^'  ^'    fatal  in  the  solitary  Campagna  than  in  the  crowded 



Eeturnof       So  the  autumn  wore  on,  both  armies  suffering 

Antonina  .  .  .  i     i         •  i  i 

to  Eome.  temble  privations,  but  each  hoping  to  outlast  the 
other.  Probably  about  the  month  of  October, 
Antonina  returned  to  her  fond  and  anxious  hus- 
band. At  least,  on  the  i8th  of  November^  we 
find  her  taking  part  in  a  strange  transaction,  the 
particulars  of  which  are  preserved  for  us  with 
dramatic  vividness  by  the  old  Papal  biographer. 
To  understand  it  we  must  turn  back  a  page  or 
two  in  the   tedious  history  of  the  Monophysite 

Papal  controversy.  It  will  be  remembered  that  the 
venerable  Pope  Agapetus  during  his  visit  to  Con- 
stantinople in  536  had  convicted  Anthimus,  the 
Byzantine  Patriarch,  of  Monophysite  heresy,  had 
brought  about  his  deposition  from  his  see,  and  had 

Theodora    consccrated  Mennas  in  his  room.     The    Empress 

desires  the  -■- 

restoration  Thoodora,  who  cluug  to   licr   Monophysite   creed 
mns.         as  passionately  as  if  it  had  been  some  new  form 

^  The  deposition  of  Silverius  which  is  related  here  is  placed 
by  Procopius  at  an  earlier  date.  He  describes  it  in  the  25th 
chapter  of  his  First  Book,  and  in  Wiq  following  chapter  recounts 
the  events  of  the  41st  day  of  the  siege  (about  13th  April,  537). 
But  against  this  has  to  be  set  the  very  precise  testimony  of 
Anastasius  Bibliothecarius,  who  puts  the  death  of  Agapetus  on 
the  22nd  April,  536,  accession  of  Silverius  8th  June  in  the 
same  year,  duration  of  his  pontificate  one  year,  five  months, 
eleven  days,  thus  bringing  his  deposition  down  to  i8th  Novem- 
^^^j  537  (see  Clinton's  Fasti  Romani,  pp.  767  and  769).  Against 
these  apparently  precise  dates  of  the  Papal  biographer  I  do  not 
think  that  the  mere  recollections  of  Procopius,  writing  after  an 
interval  of  thirteen  years,  ought  to  prevail. 

Return  of  Antonina.  251 

of  sensual  gratification,  set  her  heart  on  the  re-  book  v. 

versal  of  this  deposition  ;    and  seeing  the  influence  !_!_ 

exerted  over  her  husband's  mind  by  the  successors  ^^^' 
of  St.  Peter,  determined  that  Anthimus  should  be 
recalled  by  the  mediation  of  the  Roman  Pontiff. 
To  the  restless  and  intriguing  intellect  of  the 
Empress  the  torrents  of  noble  blood  which  were 
being  shed  in  desperate  conflict  round  the  walls 
of  the  Eternal  City  meant  merely  that  she  was 
a  little  nearer  to  or  a  little  further  from  the 
accomplishment  of  her  project  for  having  her  own 
Bishop  reinstated  in  his  see.  With  this  view  she 
sent  letters  to  the  new  Pope,  Silverius,  urging 
him  to  pay  a  speedy  visit  to  Constantinople,  or, 
failing  in  that  act  of  courtesy,  at  least  to  restore 
Anthimus  to  his  old  dignity.  Silverius,  when  he 
read  the  letters,  said,  *  Now  I  know  that  this  woman 
will  compass  my  death ; '  but  trusting  in  God  and 
St.  Peter  he  returned  a  positive  refusal  to  recall 
the  heretic  who  was  justly  condemned  for  his 

Finding  Silverius  inflexible,  Theodora  listened  She  decides 
to  the  ofler  which  had  been  already  made  by  the  silverius 
archdeacon  Yigilius,  who  was  at  this  time  acting  lius. 
as  Apocrisiarius,  or,  in  the  language  of  later  times, 
Nuncio    of   the   Roman   Bishop   at   the    Imperial 
Court.     This  man,  who,  it  may  be   remembered, 
was  the  expectant  legatee  of  the  Papal  dignity, 
if  Pope  Boniface  II.  had  obtained  the  power  to 
will  away   that    splendid   heritage  ^   now    offered 
1  See  p.  88, 

252  The  Blockade. 

BOOKV.  full  compliance  with  all  Theodora's  demands  in 
^'  favour  of  the  Monophysites,  and  in  addition,  it 
^^^'  is  said,  a  bribe  of  200  pounds  weight  of  gold 
(about  £8000)  if  he  were  enthroned  instead  of 
Silverius  in  the  chair  of  St.  Peter.  The  Empress 
therefore  addressed  a  letter  *  to  the  Patrician  Beli- 
sarius/  directing  him  to  find  some  occasion  against 
Silverius  to  depose  him  from  the  Pontificate,  or, 
if  that  were  impossible,  to  force  him  to  repair  to 
Constantinople.  The  noble  BeUsarius,  who  had 
little  liking  for  the  task,  and  had  enough  upon 
his  hands  in  the  defence  of  Rome  without  plunging 
into  the  controversy  concerning  the  Two  Natures, 
had  perhaps  lingered  in  the  fulfilment  of  this 
odious  commission.  Now,  if  our  reading  of  the 
course  of  events  be  correct,  Antonina,  anxious  to 
win  tbe  favour  of  Theodora,  having  returned  from 
her  successful  mission  to  Campania,  urged  her 
unwilling  husband  to  execute  the  commands  of 
their  patroness. 

Silverius         A  letter  was  produced,  written  in  the  name  of 

accused  of        ,  . 

treason-     Silvcrlus  and  addressed  to  King  Witigis,  offering 

able  corre-  i         *     •  •  /-ni  i        n      i  m 

spondence  to  opcu  the  Asuiarian  Gate  to  the  G-oths.  ihere 
Goths.  was  this  much  of  plausibility  in  the  alleged  treason, 
that  the  Lateran  Church  is  close  to  the  Asinarian 
Gate,  and  possibly  it  might  seem  not  inconsistent 
with  the  office  of  a  Christian  bishop  to  end  the 
frightful  sufferings  of  his  flock  even  by  such  an 
act  of  disloyalty  as  this.  The  contemporaries, 
however,  of  Silverius  seem  to  have  entirely  ac- 
quitted him  of  responsibility  in  this  matter :  and 

Accusation  of  Pope  Silverms.  253 

even  the   names  of  the  forgers   of  the   document  book  v. 

are  given  by  one  historian.     They  were,  Marcus  a *__!. 

clerk,  probably  employed  at  the   General's  head-      ^'^'^' 
quarters,  and  a  guardsman  named  Julian'. 

With  this  letter  in   his   hand,   Belisarius   sent  Siiverius 
for  Siiverius   and   urged   him   to    avert  his   own  by  Beii- 
ruin    by    obeying    the    mandates   of  the    terrible  obey  the 
Augusta,  renouncing  the  decrees  of  Chalcedon  and    ^^^^^^' 
entering  into  communion  with  the  Monophysites. 
For  a  moment  Siiverius  seems  to  have  wavered. 
He    left    the    palace,    withdrew    from    the    dan- 
gerous Lateran,  shut  himself  up  in  the  church  of 
St.  Sabina   on  the   desolate  Aventine,   and  there 
took  counsel  with  his  friends  what  he  should. do. 
Photius,  the  son  of  Antonina,   was   sent   to    lure 
him  from  his  retreat  by  promises  of  safety.     The 
Pope  went  once  to  the  Pincian,  notwithstanding 
the  advice   of  his   friends  *  to  put  no  confidence 
in  the  oaths  of  the  Greeks-.'     He  returned  that 
time  in  safety  though  still  unyielding ;  but  going 
a    second    time   with  a  heavy  heart  and  fearing 
the    malice    of    his    enemies,    he    was,    Liberatus 
tells  us,  '  seen  by  his  friends  no  more.'      The  ex- 
pressive silence  of  this  historian  corresponds  with 
the  fuller  details  given  by  the,  perhaps  later.  Papal 
biographer  :    '  At  the  first  and  the  second  veils  '  siiverius 

.  .  .        atthe 

(such  were  the  semi-regal  pomp  and  seclusion  which  pincian 
the   great    General    maintained)    'all   the   clergy 

^  Liberatus  calls  them  '  Marcum  quemdam  scholasticum  et 
Julianum  quemdam  praetorianum.' 

^  '  Qui  autem  Silverio  adstabant,  persuadebant  ei,  ne  Graeco- 
rum  crederet  juramentis '  (Liberatus,  xxii). 

Ch.  9. 


254  The  Blockade, 

BOOKV.  were  parted  from  him.  Then  Silverius,  entering 
with  Vigilius  only  into  the  Mausoleum^,  found 
Antonina  the  Patrician's  wife  lying  on  a  couch, 
and  YiHsaiius  [Belisarius]  sitting  at  her  feet.  And 
when  Antonina  the  Patrician's  wife  saw  him,  she 
said  to  him,  "  Tell  us,  Lord  Pope  Silverius,  what 
have  we  done  to  thee  and  to  the  Eomans  that 
thou  shouldest  wish  to  betray  us  into  the  hands  of 
the  Goths  1"  While  she  was  yet  speaking  the  sub- 
deacon  John,  District-visitor 2  of  the  first  Kegion, 
stripped  the  pallium  from  his  shoulders  and  led 
him  into  a  bed-room.  There  he  stripped  him,  put 
on  him  the  monastic  dress,  and  concealed  him. 
Then  Sixtus  the  sub-deacon.  District-visitor  of  the 
sixth  Region,  seeing  him  already  turned  into  a 
monk,  went  forth  and  made  this  announcement  to 
the  clergy,  "  The  Lord  Pope  has  been  deposed  and 
made  a  monk."  Then  they,  hearing  this,  all  fled ; 
and  Vigilius  the  Archdeacon  received  Silverius  as  if 
into  his  protection,  and  sent  him  to  banishment  in. 
Pontus,' — or  rather,  as  Liberatus  tells  us,  to  Patara 
in  Lycia.  Assuredly  the  first-fruits  of  the  restored 
Imperial  dominion  in  Italy  were  bitter  for  the 
Roman  Bishops  who  had  so  large  a  share  in  bring- 
ing about  the  change.  That  a  Pope,  the  son  of  a 
Pope  and  a  great  Roman  noble,  should  have  the 
pallium  torn  from  him  and  be  thrust  forth  into 

^  I  am  unable  to  explain  this  name. 

^  Eegionarius.  According  to  Ducange  the  Regionarii  were 
ecclesiastical  notaries  who,  each  in  his  own  Region  of  the  city, 
represented  the  absent  pontiff  in  the  assembly  of  the  clergy. 

Degradation  and  Exile  of  Silverius.       255 

obscure  exile  at  the  bidding  of  a  woman,  and  that  book  v. 
woman  the  dauo-hter  of  an  actress  and  a  circus-  LI. 

rider,  was  a  degradation  to  which  the  Arian  Theo-    ^^'^~  ' 
doric  and  his  successors  had  never  subjected  the 
representative  of  St.  Peter. 

We  will  anticipate  the  course  of  the  narrative  siiverius 
by  a  few  months  in  order  to  finish  the  story  of 
Silverius.  When  he  arrived  at  Patara  his  wrongs 
stirred  the  compassion  of  the  Bishop  of  that  city, 
who  sought  an  audience  with  the  Emperor  and 
said,  '  Of  all  the  many  kings  who  reign  in  the 
world  not  one  has  suffered  such  cruel  reverses  of 
fortune  as  this  man,  who,  as  Pope,  is  over  the 
whole  Church  ^\  Justinian,  who  was  perhaps 
ignorant  of  his  wife's  machinations,  ordered  that 
Silverius  should  be  carried  back  to  Eome  and  put 
on  his  trial.  If  the  letters  attributed  to  him  were 
genuine,  he  should  still  have  the  choice  of  the  epi- 
scopate of  any  other  city  but  Eome  ;  if  forged,  he 
should  be  restored  to  the  Papal  throne.  Vigi- 
lius — so  his  enemies  asserted — terrified  by  the 
return  of  his  rival,  sent  a  message  to  Belisarius, 
'  Hand  over  to  me  Silverius  ;  else  can  I  not  pay 
the  price  which  I  promised  for  the  popedom.' 
The  unhappy  ex-pontiff  was  transferred  to  the 
custody  of  two  of  the  body-guard^  of  Vigilius, 
and  by  them  taken  to  the  desolate  island  of  Pal- 
maria,  where,  being  fed  on  the  bread  of  adversity 

^  An  important  assertion  of  Papal  supremacy  in  the  sixth 

"^  '  Traditus  est  duobus  Vigilii  defensoribus  et  servis.' 

256  The  Blockade. 

BOOK  V.  and  the  water  of  affliction,  he  expired  on  the  2 1  st 

^^'^'     of   June,    538.      Posterity    reverenced   him   as    a 

His  death,  martyr,  and  many  sick  persons  were  cured  at  his 

tomb  ^ 
Fresh  \Ve  rctum  to  the  sie^e  of  Eome.     The  month  of 

troops  for 

Rome,  December  was  now  reached.  Fresh  troops,  whose 
numbers  were  considerable  when  compared  with 
the  little  band  of  Belisarius,  though  not  when 
compared  with  the  still  remaining  multitudes  of  the 
besiegers,  had  been  despatched  from  the  East,  and 
were  collecting  in  the  harbours  of  Southern  Italy. 
There  were  at  Naples  3000  Isaurians  under 
Paulus  and  Conon,  at  Otranto  800  Thracian 
horsemen  under  John,  and  1000  other  cavalry 
under  Alexander  and  Marcentius.  There  had 
already  arrived  in  Eome  by  the  Via  Latina  300 
horsemen  under  Zeno;  and  the  500  soldiers  (per- 
haps infantry)  collected  by  Procopius  were  still  in 
Campania  waiting  to  enter  Eome. 
John  Of  the  fresh  generals  who  thus  appear  upon  the 

guinary,     sccno,  the  ouly  oue  of  whom  we  need  take  special 
VHaW    notice  is  John.    He  was  the  nephew  of  Vitalian, 

^  Anastasius  and  Libera tns  both  substantially  agree  in  at- 
tributing the  death  of  Silverius  to  Vigilius.  However  strong 
may  have  been  the  prejudice  against  the  latter  Pope,  I  do  not 
think  we  are  justified  in  setting  aside  this  double  testimony 
against  him  on  the  strength  of  a  passage  in  the  Anecdota  (p.  16, 
ed.  Bonn),  where  Procopius  says  that  Eugenius,  one  of  the  slaves 
of  Antonina,  '  wrought  the  deed  of  wickedness  against  Silverius' 
(w  hr]  KCii  TO  is  SiXjSeptov  e'lpyaarai  jiiaa-yLo).  Alemannus  says  that 
the  Editio  Augustana  reads  Liberius  instead  of  Silverius :  but 
I  do  not  understand  this,  as  the  Editio  Princeps  published  at 
Augsburg  (Editio  Augustana)  does  not  contain  the  Anecdota. 

John  the  Nephew  of  Vita  Han.  257 

and  from  that  relationship  might  have  been  sup-  book  v. 

Ch.  9. 

posed  to  be  not  a  safe  servant  for  Justinian,  by 
whom  Vitahan  had  been  murdered.  But  we  can  ^^'^' 
discern  no  evidence  of  his  being  regarded  with 
suspicion  on  this  account.  He  was  a  skilful 
general  and  a  stout-hearted  soldier,  absolutely 
incapable  of  fear,  and  able  to  vie  with  any  of  the 
barbarians  in  the  endurance  of  hardship  and  in 
contentment  with  the  coarsest  fare^  Either  a 
cruel  disposition,  or,  possibly,  mere  love  for  the 
gory  revel  of  battle,  had  procured  for  him  the 
epithet  of  Sanguinarius,  under  which  he  appears 
in  the  Papal  Biography  ^,  Next  to  Bessas  and  Con- 
stantine,  he  was  probably  the  most  important 
officer  now  in  the  Imperial  service  in  Italy,  and, 
as  w^e  shall  see  hereafter,  his  fame  was  viewed 
with  some  jealousy  by  Belisarius.  Although  there 
were  other  officers  bearing  the  same  popular  name, 
to  prevent  the  tedious  repetition  either  of  his 
gory  epithet  or  of  his  relationship  to  Vitalian, 
he  will  in  these  pages  be  called  simply  John, 
the  others  being  distinguished  by  their  peculiar 

The  large  number  of  troops  under  Paulus  and  The  rein- 
Conon  were  ordered  to  sail  with  all  speed  to  Ostia.  reach 
John,  with   his   1800   horsemen,   to    whom  were 
joined    the     500    soldiers    raised    by    Procopius, 

^  See  his  character  in  Procopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  ii.  10 

(p.  185). 

^  Anastasius  Bibliothecarius,  p.  130  (apud  Muratori).     This 
epithet  is  never  given  him  by  Procopius. 

VOL.  IV.  S 

258  The  Blockade, 

BOOK  V.  marched  along  the  Appian  Way,  escorting  a  long 
"'  train  of  waggons  laden  with  provisions  for  the 
^^^'  famishing  citizens  of  Rome.  If  the  enemy  should 
attack  them  their  purpose  was  to  form  the  wag- 
gons in  a  circle  round  them  and  fight  behind  this 
hastily  raised  barrier.  No  such  attack,  however, 
appears  to  have  been  made.  The  Goths  at  this 
time  were  thinking  of  embassies  and  oratory  rather 
than  of  cutting  off  the  enemy's  suppUes.  It  was 
no  small  disappointment  to  John  and  his  troops  to 
find  Tarracina  destitute  of  Eoman  forces.  They 
had  reckoned  on  meeting  there  Martin  and  Trajan, 
whom  Belisarius  had  a  few  days  before  withdrawn 
into  the  city.  However,  favoured  perhaps  in 
part  by  the  fight  which  was  at  the  same  time 
going  on  round  the  walls  of  Rome,  both  divisions 
of  the  army,  by  sea  and  land,  arrived  safely  at 
Ostia,  with  all  the  stores  of  corn  and  wine  with 
which  they  had  freighted  their  ships  and  piled 
their  waggons.  The  Isaurians  dug  a  deep  ditch 
round  their  quarters  in  the  harbour-city,  and  the 
troops  of  John  placed  themselves  '  in  laager '  (to 
use  the  phrase  with  which  South  African  warfare 
has  made  us  familiar)  behind  their  waggons. 
Sortie  of  Mcanwhilc  to  divert  the  attention  of  the  bar- 
riaiists  bariaus  from  the  movements  of  the  relieving  armies 
'  Belisarius  had  planned  a  fresh  sortie ^  The  story 
of  these  sallies  is  becoming  monotonous,  from  their 

^  Some  little  vivid  touches  of  detail  introduced  into  the 
narrative  of  this  sortie  would  seem  to  show  that  by  this  time 
Procopius  was  again  in  "Rome. 

The  Gothic  Camps  attacked.  259 

almost  uniform  success,  but  we  are  nearlng  the  book  v. 
end  of  the  catalogue.  The  main  attack  was  to  ' 
be  made  this  time  from  the  Porta  Flaminia,  a  ^^'' 
gate  which  had  been  so  fast  closed  up  by  Beli- 
sarins  that  the  Goths  had  practically  come  to 
regard  it  not  only  as  unassailable,  but  also  as 
containing  for  them  no  menace  of  a  sally.  Now, 
however,  the  General  removed  by  night  the  large 
masses  of  stone  (taken  very  likely  from  the  agger 
of  Servius  Tullius)  with  which  he  had  filled  it  up 
and  drew  up  the  great  body  of  his  troops  behind 
it.  A  feigned  attack  made  by  looo  horsemen 
under  Trajan  and  Diogenes,  issuing  from  the 
Pincian  Gate,  distracted  the  attention  of  the  Goths, 
and  caused  them  to  pour  out  from  the  neigh- 
bouring camps  in  chase  of  the  flying  Eomans. 
When  they  were  in  all  the  confusion  of  pursuit, 
Belisarius  ordered  the  Flaminian  Gate  to  be  opened 
and  launched  his  well-drilled  troops  against  the 
unsuspecting  foe.  The  Eomans  charged  across  the 
intervening  space,  and  were  soon  close  up  to  the 
ramparts  of  that  which  we  have  called  the  First  First 

.  Gothic 

Gothic  Camp,  nearest  of  all  the  camps  to  the  walls  Camp  at- 
of  Rome.  A  steep  and  narrow  pathway  which 
led  to  the  main  gate  of  the  camp  was  held  for 
a  time,  in  Thermopylae  fashion,  by  a  courageous 
and  well-armed  barbarian,  but  Mundilas,  the 
brave  guardsman,  at  length  slew  the  Gothic  Leo- 
nidas  and  suffered  no  one  to  fill  his  place.  The 
Koraan  soldiers  pressed  on,  and  swarmed  round 
the  ramparts  of  the  camp,  but,  few  as  were  the 

S  2 

260  The  Blockade. 

BOOKV.  defenders  within  it,  they  were  kept  for  some  time 
^^'^'  at  bay  by  the  strength  of  the  works.  '  For  the 
^^^'  fosse/  says  our  historian,  *was  dug  to  a  great 
depth,  and  the  earth  taken  out  from  it,  being  all 
thrown  to  the  inside,  had  made  a  very  high  bank 
which  served  the  purpose  of  a  wall,  and  was 
strongly  armed  with  very  sharp  stakes  and  many 
of  them^'  Then  one  of  the  household  guard  of 
Belisarius,  an  active  soldier  named  Aquilinus, 
catching  hold  of  a  horse's  bridle  leaped  upon  its 
back,  and  was  carried  by  its  spring  right  over  the 
rampart  into  the  camp^.  Here  he  slew  many  of 
the  Goths,  but  gathering  round  him  they  hurled 
upon  him  a  shower  of  missiles.  The  horse  was 
killed,  but  the  brave  and  nimble  Aquilinus  escaped 
unhurt,  and  leaping  down  from  the  wall,  joined 
on  foot  the  stream  of  Eoman  soldiers  who  were 
pouring  southwards  from  the  Gothic  camp^  to- 
wards the  Pincian  Gate,  where  the  barbarians 
were  still  pursuing  the  flying  troops    of  Trajan. 

Flight  of    ^  shower  of  arrows  in  their  rear  slew  many  of 

the  Goths.  ^  ^ 

the  Goths :  the  survivors  looked  round  and  halted : 
the  lately  flying  Eomans  also  turned  :  the  Goths 
found  themselves  caught  between  two  attacks^; 

^  Again  the  Pfahlgraben  style  of  fortification. 

^  Acopov  Xa^ojjievos  ittttov  ivOevde  ^vv  toj  iTTTrw  is  ixeaou  to  x^^paKoifia 

^  Was  the  Gothic  camp  actually  taken  by  the  Eomans  1 
I  think  not :  certainly  not  held  by  them ;  but  the  language  of 
Procopius  is  not  very  clear  on  this  point. 

*  I  must  not  say  '  between  two  fires,'  though  that  expression 
has  become  so  natural  to  us  that  it  is  difficult  to  dispense 
with  it. 

Trajan  wounded.  261 

they  lost  all  cohesion  and  fell   by  hundreds.     A  book  v. 
few  with  difficulty  escaped  to  the  nearest  camps,       ^' 
the  occupants  of  which  kept  close  and  dared  not      ^^^' 
stir  forth  to  help  them. 

In  this  battle,  successful  as  were  its  main  re-  Trajan 
suits  for  the  Romans,  Trajan  received  a  wound 
which  was  well-nigh  fatal.  An  arrow  struck  his 
face,  a  little  above  his  right  eye,  in  the  angle 
formed  by  the  eye  and  the  nose.  The  whole  of 
the  iron  tip,  though  long  and  large,  entered  and 
was  hidden  in  the  wound  :  the  wooden  part  of 
the  arrow,  not  well  joined  to  the  iron,  fell  to  the 
earth.  Notwithstanding  his  wound  Trajan  went 
on  pursuing  and  slaying,  and  no  ill  results  came 
of  it.  *  Five  years  after,'  says  the  historian,  '  the 
arrow-tip  of  its  own  accord  worked  its  way  to  the 
surface  and  showed  itself  in  his  face.  For  three 
years  it  has  protruded  a  little  from  the  surface. 
Every  one  expects  that  in  course  of  time  it  will 
work  out  altogether.  Meanwhile  Trajan  has 
suffered  no  inconvenience  from  it  of  any  kind  ^.' 

The   result   of  this    sally   was   to    strike   deep  The  Goths, 

discouragement  into  the  hearts  of  the  barbarians,  send  an 

*  Already,'  said  they  to  one  another,  '  we  are  as  Beiisarfus!^ 

*  At  first  sight  it  would  seem  that  this  passage  must  have 
been  written  eight  years  after  the  wound  was  received,  i.  e.  in 
545-6  :  and  possibly  this  may  have  been  the  case,  though  the 
De  Bello  Gotthico  as  a  whole  was  published  (according  to 
Dahn)  in  550.  But  if  we  examine  the  passage  minutely  we 
shall  see  that  there  may  be  an  interval  of  a  few  years  between 
TTefXTTTOi  varepov  iviavr^  and  rplrov  tovto  €tos  ('  The  point  first 
showed  itself  after  five  years,  and  now  for  three  years  has  been 
absolutely  projecting  from  his  face '). 


262  The  Blockade. 

BOOKV.  much  the  besieged  as  the  besiegers.  Famine  and 
"'  Pestilence  are  stalking  through  all  our  camps. 
New  armies,  we  cannot  tell  how  large,  are  on  their 
way  from  Constantinople,  and  the  terrible  Beli- 
sarius,  who  knows  that  only  a  few  of  us  are  left 
to  represent  the  many  myriads  who  sat  down 
before  Eome,  is  actually  daring  to  assault  us  in 
our  camps,  one  of  which  he  has  all  but  taken/  In 
some  kind  of  assembly,  which  the  historian  calls 
their  Senate,  they  debated  the  question  of  raising 
the  siege,  and  decided  on  the  desperate  expedient 
of  an  appeal  to  the  justice  and  generosity  of 
Byzantium,  while  sending  an  embassy  to  Eome 
to  plead  their  cause  with  Belisarius.  The  embassy 
consisted  of  an  official  of  high  rank  in  the  Gothic 
state  but  of  Koman  lineage  (one  who  occupied 
in  fact  nearly  the  same  position  formerly  held  by 
Cassiodorus,  but  whose  name  Procopius  has  not 
recorded),  and  with  him  two  Gothic  nobles.  The 
arguments  used  by  the  Gothic  envoy  and  the 
replies  of  Belisarius,  which  are  probably  in  the 
main  correctly  reported  by  the  historian,  himself 
present  at  the  interview,  may  best  be  presented 
in  the  form  of  a  dialogue. 

Gothic  Envoys.  *  This  war  is  inflicting  upon  both 
the  combatants  indescribable  miseries.  Let  us 
each  moderate  our  desires,  and  see  if  some  means 
cannot  be  found  of  bringing  it  to  an  end.  The 
ruler  should  think  not  merely  of  the  gratification 
of  his  own  ambition,  but  also  of  the  happiness 
of  his  subjects,  and  that  assuredly  is  not    being 

The  Conference,  263 

promoted  on  either  side  by  the   continuance    of  book  v. 
the   war.       We   suggest   that   the   conference   be        ' 
not  conducted  by  means  of  studied  orations  on      ^^^' 
either   side,    but   that   each   party   say  out   that 
which  is  in  their  minds  without  preparation,  and 
that  if  anything  be  said  which  seems  improper, 
exception  be  taken  to  it  at  once.' 

Belisarius.  *  I  shall  interpose  no  hindrance  to 
the  dialogue  proceeding  as  ye  propose  :  but  see 
that  ye  utter  words  that  are  just  and  that  tend 
towards  peace/ 

Gothic  Envoys.  '  We  complain  of  you,  0  Eomans, 
that   you   have    taken   up    arms    without    cause 
against  an  allied  and  friendly  people :  and  we  shall 
prove  our  complaint  by  facts  which  no  man  can 
gainsay.     The  Goths  came  into  possession  of  this  Gothic 
land  not  by  violently  wresting  it  from  the  Eomans,  Theodo- 
but  by  taking  it  from  Odovacar,  who,  having  over-  quest  of 
turned   the  Emperor   of  that  day,  changed   the      ^ 
constitutional  government  which  existed  here  into 
a  tyranny^.     Now  Zeno  who  was  then  Emperor 
of  the  East  was  desirous  to  avenge  his  colleague 
on  the  usurper  and  to  free  the  country,  but  was 
not   strong   enough   to    cope   with   the   forces  of 
Odovacar.      He    therefore    persuaded    our    ruler 
Theodoric,  who  was  at  that  very  time  meditating 
the  siege  of  Byzantium,  to  forego  his  hostility  to 

^  The  term  'constitutional  government'  is  of  course  an 
anachronism,  but  perhaps  conveys  best  to  a  modern  reader  the 
meaning   of  politeia  :    is   Tvpawiba    rrjv    r^be    noKiTfiav  iJL€Ta^aKa>v 

264  The  Blockade. 

BOOKV.  the  Empire  in  remembrance  of  the  dignities  which 
"'  he  had  already  received  in  the  Eoman  State,  (those 
^^^'  namely  of  Patrician  and  Consul),  to  avenge  upon 
Odovacar  his  injustice  to  Augustulus,  and  to  confer 
upon  this  country  and  his  own  people  the  blessings 
of  a  just  and  stable  government.  Thus  then  did 
our  nation  come  to  be  guardians  of  this  land  of 
Italy.  The  settled  order  of  things  which  we  found 
here  we  preserved,  nor  can  any  man  point  to  any 
new  law,  written  or  unwritten,  and  say  "  That  was 
introduced  by  Theodoric\"  As  for  religious  affairs, 
so  anxiously  have  we  guarded  the  liberty  of  the 
Eomans  that  there  is  no  instance  of  one  of  them 
having  voluntarily  or  under  compulsion  adopted 
our  creed,  while  there  are  many  instances  of  Goths 
who  have  gone  over  to  yours,  not  one  of  whom 
has  suffered  any  punishment.  The  holy  places 
of  the  Eomans  have  received  the  highest  honour 
from  us,  and  their  right  of  sanctuary  has  been 
uniformly  respected.  The  high  ofiSces  of  the  State 
have  been  always  held  by  Eomans,  not  once  by 
a  Goth.  We  challenge  contradiction  if  any  of  our 
statements  are  incorrect.  Then,  too,  the  Eomans 
have  been  permitted  by  the  Goths  to  receive  a 
Consul  every  year,  on  the  nomination  of  the 
Emperor  of  the  East. 

'To  sum  up.  You  did  nothing  to  help  Italy 
when,  not  for  a  few  months  but  for  ten  long 
years,  she  was  groaning  under  the  oppression  of 

^  In  the  face  of  the  Edictum  Theodorici  it  is  difficult  to 
believe  that  the  Gothic  envoys  are  here  reported  correctly. 

The  Conference.  265 

Odovacar  and  his  barbarians :    but  now  you  are  book  v. 
putting  forth  all  your   strength   upon   no   valid       ^' 
pretext  against  her  rightful  occupants.     We  call      ^^'^• 
upon  you  therefore  to  depart  hence,  to  enjoy  in 
quiet  your  own  possessions  and  the  plunder  which 
during    this    war    you    have    collected    in    our 

Belisarius  (in  wrath).  *  You  promised  that  you 
would  speak  briefly  and  with  moderation,  but  you 
have  given  us  a  long  harangue,  full  of  something 
very  like  bragging.  The  Emperor  Zeno  sent  Byzantine 
Theodoric  to  make  war  upon  Odovacar,  not  in  the  same 
order  that  he  himself  should  obtain  the  kingship  tion. 
of  Italy  (for  what  would  have  been  the  advantage 
of  replacing  one  tyrant  by  another'?),  but  that  the 
country  might  be  restored  to  freedom  and  its  obe- 
dience to  the  Emperor.  Now  all  that  Theodoric 
did  against  the  usurper  was  well  done,  but  his 
later  behaviour,  in  refusing  to  restore  the  country 
to  its  rightful  lord,  was  outrageously  ungrateful : 
nor  can  I  see  any  difference  between  the  conduct 
of  a  man  who  originally  lays  hands  on  another's 
property,  and  his  who,  when  such  a  stolen  treasure 
comes  into  his  possession,  refuses  to  restore  it  to 
its  true  owner.  Never,  therefore,  will  I  surrender 
the  Emperor's  land  to  any  other  lord.  But  if  you 
have  any  other  request  to  make,  speak  on.' 

Gothic  Envoys,     *  How  true  is  all  that  we  have  Goths  offer 
advanced  every  member  of  this  company  knows  der  Siciiy. 
right  well.     But,  as  a  proof  of  our  moderation,  we 
will  relinquish  to  you  the  large  and  wealthy  island 

266  The  Blockade. 

BOOKV.  of  Sicily,  without  which  your  possession  of  Africa 

Ch.  9.     .    .  , 
IS  insecure. 

Beifslrius       BelisaTius    (with    sarcastic    courtesy).       *  Such 
offers  to     generosity   calls  for  a  return  in   kind.     We  will 

surrender     o  ./ 

Britain,  freely  grant  permission  to  the  Goths  to  occupy  the 
whole  of  Britain,  a  much  larger  island  than  you 
offer  to  us,  and  one  which  once  belonged  to  the 
Komans  as  Sicily  once  belonged  to  the  Goths/ 

Gothic  Envoys.  '  Well  then,  if  we  talk  about 
adding  Naples  and  Campania  to  our  offer,  will  you 
consider  it  V 

Belisarius.  '  Certainly  not.  We  have  no  power 
to  grant  away  the  lands  of  the  Emperor  in  a  man- 
ner which  he  might  not  approve  of.' 

Gothic  Envoys.  '  Or  if  we  pledged  ourselves  to 
pay  a  certain  yearly  tribute  to  your  master '? ' 

Belisarius.     '  No,  not  so.     We  can  treat  on  no 

conditions    but     those     which    secure    that    the 

Emperor  shall  have  his  own  again/ 

A  truce  GotMc  Envoys.     '  Come  then :    allow  us  to  send 

anTac-      ambassadors  to  the  Emperor  to  treat  about  all  the 

^^^  ^  ■      matters  in  dispute,  and  let  there  be  a  cessation  of 

hostilities  on  both  sides  for  a  fixed  period,  to  give 

the  ambassadors  time  to  go  and  return.' 

Belisarius.  '  Be  it  so.  Never  shall  my  voice 
be  raised  against  any  proposition  which  is  really 
made  in  the  interests  of  peace.'  And  thereupon 
the  ambassadors  returned  to  the  Gothic  camp  to 
make  arrangements  for  the  coming  truce. 

Thus  ended  this  memorable  interview  between 
the  representative  of  Caesar  and  the  servants  of 


The  Conference,  267 

the  Gothic  Kino;.     Memorable,   if  for  no  others,  book  v. 

.  .  Ch  9 

assuredly  for  us,  the  dwellers  in  that  well-nigh  for- 
gotten island  whose  sovereignty  Belisarius  tossed 
contemptuously  to  the  Goths  as  a  reply  to  their 
proposed  surrender  of  Sicily.  Would  that  we  had 
a  Procopius  to  tell  us  what  was  passing  at  that 
moment  in  *the  island  much  larger  than  Sicily, 
which  had  belonged  aforetime  to  the  Eomans  1 ' 
Three  years  before,  as  we  are  told,  Cerdic,  the  534- 
half-mythical  ancestor  of  King  Alfred  and  of 
Queen  Victoria,  had  died  (if  indeed  he  had  ever 
lived),  perchance  in  some  palace  rudely  put  toge- 
ther on  the  ruins  of  the  Eoman  Praetorium  at 
Winchester.  His  people  had  been  for  near  twenty 
years  pausing  in  their  career  of  conquest,  during 
that  mysterious  interval,  or  even  refluence  of  the 
Saxon  wave,  which  legend  has  glorified  by  con- 
necting it  with  the  great  deeds  of  Arthur.  In  the 
far  north,  ten  years  after  this  time.  King  Ida  was  547. 
to  rear  upon  the  basaltic  rock  of  Bamborough, 
overlooking  the  misty  flock  of  the  Fame  Islands, 
that  fortress  which  was  to  be  the  capital  of  the 
Bernician  kingdom,  and  which  narrowly  missed 
being  the  capital  of  England  itself  and  rivalling 
the  world-wide  fame  of  London.  When  we  have 
said  this  we  have  told  nearly  all  that  is  known  of 
the  deeds  of  our  fathers  and  the  fortunes  of  our 
land  during  this  central  portion  of  the  sixth  cen- 
tury after  Christ. 

The  negotiations  for  a  truce,  and  the  consequent  Belisarius 
slackening  of  the  vigilance  of  the  Goths,  came  at  cover  of 

268  The  Blockade, 

BOOK  V.  the  most  opportune  moment  possible  for  the  plans 

"'  •     of  Belisarius.     Vast  quantities  of  corn,  wine,  and 

,  ^^''*      other  provisions  for  the  relief  of  the  hunQ:er-stricken 

the  truce  ■*-  ^  ^ 

re-victuals  Qftv  wero   coUected   at   Ostia,   but   a   murderous 

Kome.  -^  ' 

struggle  would  have  been  necessary  to  cover  their 
entrance  into  Eome.  On  the  very  evening  of  the 
day  of  conference  Belisarius,  accompanied  appar- 
ently by  his  wife  and  attended  by  lOO  horsemen, 
rode  to  Ostia  to  meet  the  generals  who  were  in 
command  of  the  Isaurians  at  that  port.  He 
encouraged  them  by  the  tidings  of  the  negotia- 
tions that  had  been  commenced,  urged  them  to 
use  all  possible  diligence  in  the  transport  of  the 
provisions  to  Eome,  and  promised  to  do  all  in  his 
power  to  secure  them  a  safe  passage.  With  the 
first  grey  of  the  morning  he  returned  to  the  City, 
leaving  Antonina  behind  to  consult  with  the 
generals  as  to  the  best  means  of  conveying  the 
stores.  The  only  practicable  towpath — as  was  be- 
fore said — ran  along  the  right  bank  of  the  river,  and 
was  commanded  by  the  Gothic  garrison  of  Portus. 
Moreover,  the  draught-oxen  were  half  dead  with 
hunger  and  hardship.  In  these  circumstances 
Antonina  and  the  generals  decided  to  trust  to 
sails  and  oars  alone.  They  selected  all  the  largest 
boats  belonging  to  the  navy  at  Ostia,  fitted  each 
one  with  rude  battlements  of  tall  planks  to  pro- 
tect the  rowers  from  the  arrows  of  the  enemy, 
freighted  them  with  the  cargoes  of  provisions, 
and  began  their  perilous  voyage.  A  considerable 
part   of  the   army  accompanied   them  along  the 

Rome  Re-victualled.  269 

left   bank   of  the   river   by    way   of  escort,    but  book  v. 



several  of  the  iKsaurians  were  also  left  at  Ostia 
to  guard  the  ships.  Apparently  the  wind  blew 
from  the  south-west,  for  wherever  the  stream 
pursued  a  straight  course  their  sails  were  full 
and  all  went  pleasantly;  but  in  the  windings 
of  the  river  they  had  to  resort  to  their  oars, 
and  hard  was  the  toil  needed  to  traverse  these 
portions  of  the  stream. 

Strangely  enough,  the  Goths,  though  no  truce  The  Goths 
was  formally  concluded,  offered  no  opposition  to  opposition. 
this  proceeding,  though  they  must  have  known 
that  that  day's  work,  if  successful,  would  undo, 
in  great  measure,  the  results  of  the  last  six 
months  of  blockade.  The  garrison  at  Portus  lay 
quiet,  marvelling  at  the  ingenuity  of  the  Eomans, 
and  saw  the  heavy  barges  sail  almost  under  the 
towers  of  their  fortress.  The  Goths  in  the  six 
camps  lay  quiet  too,  partly  comforting  them- 
selves with  the  assurance  that  the  Eomans  would 
never  get  their  city  re-victualled  in  that  way, 
partly  thinking  that  it  was  not  worth  while  to 
imperil  the  results  of  the  conference  and  lose 
the  longed-for  truce  by  any  hostile  action  which 
might  offend  the  terrible  Belisarius.  So  they  let 
their  opportunity  slip.  The  barges  passed  and 
repassed  till  all  the  stores  were  safely  transported 
to  Eome.  The  ships  then  returned  to  Constan-  21  d.^c. 
tinople  with  all  speed  to  avoid  the  peril  of 
storms,  the  winter  solstice  being  now  reached. 
A  few  Isaurians,  under  the  command  of  Paulus, 

Truce  for 



270  The  Blockade. 

BOOKV.  were  left  at  Ostia,  but   the    great   mass  of  the 
^'        new  soldiers  entered  Eome  in  safety. 
^^t'  When  the  Goths  had  quietly  looked  on  at  all 

ice  tor  -L  «/ 

these  important  operations,    they   might  just    as 
concluded  ^^  have  at  once  recomised  the  hopelessness  of 

and  host-  ^  ^ 

ages  ex^     their  task  and  marched  away  from  Eome.     They 


still  clung  however,  or  rather  perhaps  their  King 
alone  still  clung,  to  the  expedient  of  a  truce  and 
an  embassy,  and  to  the  hope  of  obtaining  favour- 
able terms  from  the  justice  of  Justinian.  It  was 
arranged  that  Gothic  ambassadors  should  be  sent 
under  Koman  escort  to  Constantinople,  that  a  truce 
for  three  months  should  be  concluded  between  the 
two  armies  to  give  the  embassy  time  to  go  and 
return,  and  that  hostages  of  high  rank  should  be 
given  on  both  sides.  The  .Gothic  hostage  was  a 
nobleman  named  Ulias ;  the  Koman  hostage  v/as 
Zeno,  a  cavalry  officer  who,  as  was  before  stated, 
had  recently  entered  Eome  by  the  Latin  Way. 
Gothic  In  the  whole  course  of  these  negotiations  the 


evacuated  Goths   had  bccn   thoroughly  outwitted  by  Beli- 

and  occu-  .  xti«iti  -ii 

pied  by  sarius.  Nothmg  had  been  said  about  the  question 
of  revictualling  Eome  ;  and  Belisarius  had  quietly 
decided  that  question  in  his  own  favour,  under  the 
very  eyes  of  the  puzzled  barbarians.  Neither 
does  anything  seem  to  have  been  said  expressly 
as  to  the  case  of  either  army  ceasing  to  occupy 
all  its  positions  in  force,  a  case  which  soon  arose. 
Shut  off  from  the  coast  by  the  Byzantines'  com- 
mand of  the  sea,  and  having,  very  likely,  failed  to 
maintain  the  Eoman  roads  in  good  condition,  the 

Truce  for  Three  Months.  271 

Goths  found  great  difficulty  in  provisioning   the  bookv 

Ch.  9. 

garrisons  at  some  of  their  distant  posts.  Under 
the  stress  of  this  difficulty  they  withdrew  their  ^^^' 
garrisons  from  Portus,  from  Centumcellae  (the 
modern  Civita  Yecchia),  and  from  Albanum.  As 
fast  as  each  square  was  thus  left  vacant  on  the 
chess-board,  Belisarius  moved  up  a  piece  to  take 
possession  of  it.     The  Goths,  who  found  them- The  Goths 


selves  thus  ever  more  and  more  hemmed  in  by  strate. 
the  Koman  outposts,  sent  an  embassy  of  angry 
complaint  to  Belisarius.  '  Was  this  in  accordance 
with  the  terms  of  the  armistice  %  Witigis  had 
sent  for  the  Goths  in  Portus  to  come  to  him  for  a 
temporary  service,  and  Paulus  and  his  Isaurians 
had  marched  in  and  taken  possession  of  the  unde- 
fended fortress.  So,  too,  with  Albanum  and  Centum- 
cellae. All  these  places  must  be  given  back  to 
them  or  they  would  do  terrible  things.'  Belisarius 
simply  laughed  at  their  threats,  and  told  them 
that  all  the  world  knew  perfectly  well  for  what 
reason  those  fortresses  had  been  abandoned.  The 
truce  still  formally  continued,  but  both  parties 
eyed  one  another  with  jealousy  and  distrust. 

By  the   new   reinforcements   which    had   been  Troops  sent 
poured  into    Rome,   Belisarius   found   himself  at  Abruzzi 
the  head  of  so  large  a  number  of  troops  that  he  john. 
could  even  spare  some  for  distant  operations.     He 
therefore   despatched  John   at  the   head   of  800 
horsemen  to  the  mountains  of  the  Abruzzi.     Two 
other  bodies  of  troops,  amounting  to  1 200  in  all,  were 
to  follow  his  motions  and  adapt  their  movements 

272  The  Blockade. 

BOOKv.  to  his,  but,  perhaps  for  reasons  of  commissariat, 
"'  not  to  occupy  the  same  quarters.  One  of  these 
^^^'  supporting  armies  was  commanded  by  Damian, 
nephew  of  Valerian,  and  his  troops  were  drawn 
from  that  general's  army.  The  orders  given  to 
John  were  to  pass  the  winter  at  Alba  [Fiicentia], 
a  city  about  seventy  miles  from  Eome,  in  the 
heart  of  the  Apennines  and  near  to  the  little  lake 
of  Fucinus.  Here  he  was  to  rest,  not  disturbing 
the  Goths  so  long  as  they  attempted  no  hostile 
operation.  The  moment  that  he  perceived  the 
truce  to  be  broken,  he  was  to  sweep  like  a  whirl- 
wind on  the  territory  of  Picenum,  between  the 
Apennines  and  the  Hadriatic,  to  ravage  the  Gothic 
possessions  (scrupulously  respecting  those  of  the 
Eomans),  to  collect  plunder  from  every  quarter, 
and  to  carry  off  their  women  and  children  into 
slavery.  All  this  could  be  easily  effected,  since 
the  men  of  the  district  were  all  serving  in  the 
Gothic  armies.  He  was  to  take  every  fortress 
that  threatened  his  route,  leaving  none  to  molest 
his  rear,  and  he  was  to  keep  his  plunder  intact 
till  the  time  came  for  dividing  it  among  the  ivliole 
army.  '  For  it  is  not  fair,'  said  Belisarius,  with  a 
laugh,  '  that  we  should  have  the  trouble  of  killing 
the  drones  and  that  you  should  divide  all  the  honey.' 
Visit  of  Two  events  relieved  the  tedium  of  the   siege 

Arch-'      during  the  early  months  of  the   year  538:    the 
Milan.  *^     visit  of  the  Archbishop  of  Milan  and  the  quarrel 
between  Belisarius  and  Constantino.     Datius,  the 
Ligurian  Archbishop,  came  at  the  head  of  a  depu- 

Visit  of  Archbishop  of  Milan,  273 

tation  of  influential  citizens  to  entreat  Belisarius  book  v. 
to  send  a  small  garrison  to  enable  them  to  hold        ' 
their  city  (which  had  apparently  already  revolted      ^^ 
from  the  Gothic   King)   for   the   Empire.     They 
enlarged   on    the    populousness    and    wealth    of 
Mediolanum,  the  second  city  of  Italy,  its  important 
position  (eight  days'  journey  from  Ravenna  and 
the  same  distance  from  the  frontiers  of  Gaul),  and 
the  certainty  that  Liguria  would  follow  whitherso- 
ever its  capital  might  lead.     Belisarius  promised 
to  grant  their   request   as  soon  as  possible,  and 
meanwhile  persuaded  Datius  and  his  companions 
to  pass  the  winter  with  him  in  Rome. 

The  quarrel  with   Constantine,   in  which  Pro-  Quarrel 
copius  sees  the  hand   of  Nemesis   resenting  the  Belisarius 
umiorm  prosperity  oi  the   imperial  cause,  arose  stantine. 
out  of  small  beginnings.     A  certain  Presidius,  one 
of  the  leadino^  citizens  of  Ravenna,  havino;  some 
cause  of  complaint  against  the  Goths,  determined 
to  flee  to  the  Imperial  army.     Leaving  Ravenna 
on  pretence  of  hunting,  he  passed  through   the 
Gothic  lines  (this  happened  just   before   Witigis 
started  for  the  siege  of  Rome)  and  made  his  way 
to  the  army  which  under  Constantine  was  then 
quartered   at  Spoleto.     Of  all  his  possessions  he  Affair  of 
was   able   to   bring   with   him   nothing  but   two  anrhis"^ 
daggers   in   golden   scabbards   set   with   precious  *^^®^^* 
stones.     The  fame  of  the  refugee  from  Ravenna 
and   his  jewelled   poniards   reached   the   ears    of 
Constantine,   w^ho  sent  one  of  his  guards  named 
Maxentiolus  to  the  church  outside  the  walls,  where 

VOL.  IV.  T 

274  The  Blockade, 

BOOK  V.  Presidius  had  taken  refuge,  to  demand  the  daggers 
^'  in  the  General's  name.  Presidius  was  forced  to 
^^^'  submit  to  this  spoliation,  but  hastened  to  Eome 
to  lay  his  complaint  before  the  General.  In  the 
turmoil  of  the  Gothic  assault  and  the  Eoman 
sorties,  he  found  for  long  no  suitable  opportunity 
for  stating  his  case ;  but  now  that  the  truce  had 
been  proclaimed  he  sought  and  obtained  an  au- 
dience with  the  General,  before  whom  he  laid  his 
complaint.  Belisarius  had  other  reasons  for  cen- 
suring his  lieutenant ;  but  at  present  he  confined 
himself  to  a  gentle  remonstrance  with  Constantine, 
and  the  expression  of  a  wish  that  he  would  abstain 
from  such  acts  of  rapacity.  The  Fate  which  was 
brooding  over  the  covetous  general  prevented  him 
from  *  leaving  well  alone.\  He  must  needs  taunt 
Presidius,  whenever  he  met  him,  with  the  loss  of 
his  daggers,  and  ask  him  what  he  had  gained  by 
complaining  to  Belisarius.  At  length  the  refugee 
could  bear  it  no  longer ;  but  one  day  when  Beli- 
sarius was  riding  through  the  Forum  he  seized 
his  horse's  bridle  and  cried  out  with  a  loud  voice, 
*Are  these  the  far-famed  laws  of  Justinian,  that 
when  a  man  takes  refuge  with  you  from  the 
barbarians  ye  should  spoil  him  of  his  goods  by 
forced'  The  Generals  retinue  shouted  to  him  to 
let  go  the  horse's  bridle,  but  he  clung  to  it,  re- 
peating his  cries  and  passionate  appeals  for  justice, 
till  Belisarius,  who  knew  the  rightness  of  his 
cause,  promised  that  the  daggers  should  be  re- 
stored to  him. 

Constantine  and  the  stolen  Daggers.       275 
The  next  day  there  was  an  assembly  of  the  book  v. 

Ch.  9. 

generals  in  a  chamber  of  the  palace  on  the  Pincian. 
Constantine  was  there,  and  Bessas  and  Valerian,  ^gg^^i^i 
There  was  also  present  Ildiger,  son-in-law  of  ^^g^^^^^^^- 
Antonina,  who  had  lately  come  to  Eome  with  a 
large  troop  of  horsemen  from  Africa.  Before  all 
this  assembly  Belisarius  related  what  had  occurred 
on  the  previous  day,  blamed  the  unjust  deed  of 
Constantine,  and  exhorted  him  to  make  a  tardy 
reparation  for  his  fault  by  restoring  the  daggers 
to  their  owner.  *  No/  replied  Constantine,  *  I  will 
do  nothing  of  the  kind.  I  would  rather  throw 
the  daggers  into  the  Tiber  than  give  them  back 
to  Presidius.'  Belisarius  asked  him  with  some 
warmth  if  he  remembered  who  was  his  general. 
*In  everything  else,'  said  Constantine,  *  I  am  willing 
to  obey  you,  since  the  Emperor  orders  me  to  do 
so,  but  as  for  the  matter  that  you  are  now  talking 
about  I  will  never  obey  you.'  Belisarius  ordered 
the  guards  to  enter.  '  To  kill  me,  I  suppose,'  said 
Constantine.  *No,'  was  the  answer,  *but  since 
your  armour-bearer  Maxentiolus  by  force  took 
these  daggers  away,  by  force  to  compel  him  to 
restore  them.'  Constantine,  however,  believing  that  Constan- 

tine  oi,-«-bs 

his  death  was  decided  upon,  determined  to  do  Belisarius. 
some  memorable  deed  while  he  yet  lived,  and 
drawing  the  dagger  which  hung  at  his  side  stabbed 
Belisarius  in  the  belly.  Wounded,  but  not  fatally, 
the  General  staggered  back,  and  clasping  Bessas 
in  his  arms  interposed  the  portly  form  of  the 
Ostrogoth  between  himself  and  the  assassin.     He 

T  2 

276  The  Blockade. 

BOOKv.  then   glided    out   of  the  chamber.      Constantlne, 

°'        mad  with  rage,  was  on  the  point  of  following  him, 

^^^'      but  Ildiger  seized   him  by  the   right   hand    and 

Bessas  by  the  left,  and  they  together  pulled  him 

in  an  opposite  direction.   Then  the  guards  entered, 

and  with  much  difficulty  wrested  the  dagger  from 

Constan-    the  furious  officcr.     He  was  dragged  off  to  a  place 

tine  put  , 

to  death,  of  Confinement  in  the  palace,  thence,  after  some 
days,  to  another  house,  and  eventually  was  put  to 
death  by  the  order  of  Belisarius. 

other  rea-       The  exccution  of  a  lieutenant  who  had  so  grossly 

sons  as-        ^  ,  .  .        . 

signed  for  insultcd  his  supcrior  officer  and  attempted  his  life 

the  execu-  iiTrr»i  ••p 

tionofCon- does  uot  appear  to  be  a  deed  difficult  to  justify. 
Procopius  remarks,  however,  that  *this  was  the 
only  unholy  action  which  Belisarius  ever  com- 
mitted, and  it  was  unlike  his  usual  disposition. 
For  he  generally  showed  great  gentleness  in  his 
dealings  with  all  men.  But,  as  before  remarked, 
it  was  fated  that  Constantino  should  come  to  a 
bad  end.'  This  reflection  convinces  us  that  we 
have  not  heard  the  whole  story,  and  that  the 
affair  of  the  jewelled  poniards  was  rather  the 
pretext  than  the  cause  of  the  death  of  Constan- 
tino. In  the  Anecdota,  that  Scandalous  Chronicle 
written  in  the  old  age  of  Procopius,  he  informs 
us  that  when  all  Constantinople  was  talking  about 
the  gallantries  of  Antonina  and  the  punishment 
inflicted  on  her  lover  by  Belisarius,  Constantino, 
in  his  condolence  with  the  injured  husband,  said, 
'It  is  not  the  young  man  but  the  lady  that 
I  should  punish  in  such  a  case.'     Antonina  heard 

Death  of  Constantine,  277 

of  the  saying  and  treasured  up  her  wrath  till  an  book  v. 
occasion  was  found  for  wreaking  it  upon  the  in-        ' 
judicious  officer.  ^^  ' 

Not  ]on2:  after  this  affair,  the  Goths  attempted  ^t^^empt  of 

°  .  .  .  ,  the  Goths 

to  enter  the  City  by  guile.     Agricola's  aqueduct,  to  enter  by 

TT'  ♦^^       -^    c  IP  .  .  the  Aqua 

the  Aqua  Virgo,  is  so  constructed,  for  engineering  virgo. 
reasons,  as  to  form  a  long  circuit  round  the  east 
and  north  of  the  City.  The  course  which  it  now 
pursues  is  almost  entirely  in  the  rear  of  the  Gothic 
position,  but  there  seems  reason  to  think  that 
in  538  it  passed  through  the  Gothic  lines,  that 
it  touched  the  Wall  of  Aurelian  near  the  Salarian 
Gate,  a.nd  was  then  carried  for  some  distance 
round  the  Wall  on  a  low  arcade  only  some  three 
or  four  feet  in  height^.  However  this  may  be, 
there  is  no  doubt  that  then  as  now  it  burrowed 
under  the  Pincian  Hill,  and  emerged  into  a  deep 
well-like  chamber  communicating  with  one  of  the 
palaces  on  that  eminence.  That  palace  was  then 
the  Pincian  Palace  inhabited  by  Belisarius.  Tlic 
dwelling  which  now  rises  immediately  above  the 
receptacle  of  the  Aqua  Virgo  is  the  Villa  Medicis, 
the  home  of  the  French  Academy.  A  strong 
argument  is  thus  furnished  in  favour  of  identi- 
fying the  two  sites.  From  the  Pincian  the  water 
was  carried,  then  as  now,  to  the  Campus  Martins, 

^  Depicted  in  one  of  Mr.  Parker's  photographs  (No.  5). 
I  follow  his  statement  (Aqueducts,  p.  47.  n.  i,  and  pp.  121, 122) 
as  to  the  alteration  in  the  line  of  the  Aqua  Virgo,  because 
some  such  deviation  seems  necessary  to  explain  the  narrative 
of  Procopius,  the  present  course  of  this  part  of  the  aqueduct 
being,  I  think,  entirely  subterranean. 

278  The  Blockade. 

BOOKV.  the  fountain  of  Trevi,  and  the  tieighbourhood  of 
^"•^'  the  Pantheon;  in  fact  the  aqueduct  ran  right  into 
^^^      the  very  heart  of  Rome. 

The  Goths       A  party  of  Goths,  during  this  treacherous  truce- 

in  the  •  i  •        i  •  i 

aqueduct,  time,  determined  to  attempt  an  entrance  into  the 
City  by  this  aqueduct,  which  of  course,  like  all  the 
others,  was  now"  only  a  tunnel  bare  of  water. 
With  lighted  torches  they  groped  their  way 
through  the  specus,  which  is  about  six  feet  high 
by  a  foot  and  a  half  wide.  They  crept  along 
unopposed,  perhaps  for  a  distance  of  one  or  tw^o 
miles,  till  at  last  they  were  actually  within  the 
City,  and  close  to  the  foot  of  the  steps  leading  to 
the  Very  palace  of  Belisarius.  Here  they  found 
their  further  progress  barred  by  a  newly-erected 
wall.  This  wall  had  been  built  by  command  of 
Belisarius  soon  after  his  entry  into  the  City.  The 
wary  General,  who  knew  every  move  that  his 
enemy  ought  to  make  upon  the  board,  was  not 
going  to  allow  Eome  to  be  taken  from  him  as  he 
had  taken  Naples  from  the  Goths,  by  stealing 
through  an  aqueduct.  Foiled  in  their  present 
purpose,  the  Goths  broke  off  a  bit  of  stone  from 
this  wall  as  a  record  of  their  perilous  expedition, 
and  returned  to  tell  Witigis  how  near  they  had 
been  to  success  and  why  they  had  missed  it. 
Tiie  light  But  while  the  explorers  were  moving  along 
torches  through  the  small  part  of  the  Aqua  Yirgo  which 
sentinel,  was  abovc  grouud,  the  flash  of  their  torches 
through  a  chink  in  the  walls  attracted  the  atten- 
tion of  a  sentinel,  stationed  perhaps  in  the  fosse 

The  Goths  seek  to  enter  by  an  Aquedtut,  279 
somewhere  near  the  Pincian  Gate.     He  talked  to  book  v. 

Ch  9 

his  comrades  about  this  mysterious  light,  seen  only  LJ_ 

a  foot  or  two  above  the  surface  of  the  earth ;  but  ^^  ' 
they  only  laughed  at  him,  belling  him  that  he 
must  have  seen  a  wolf's  eyes  gleaming  through 
the  darkness.  However,  the  story  of  the  sentinel 
and  his  wonderful  light  reached  the  ears  of  Beli- 
sarius.  In  a  moment  its  true  meaning  flashed 
upon  him.  '  This  is  no  wolf,'  he  said  to  himself; 
*the  Goths  are  trying  the  aqueduct.'  At  once 
he  sent  the  guardsman  Diogenes  with  a  body  of 
picked  men  to  examine  the  channel.  We  must 
suppose  that  they  took  down  part  of  the  obstruct- 
ing wall,  and  so  entered  the  s^ecus.  They  saw 
the  place  where  the  stone  had  been  chipped  off 
which  was  shown  to  Witigis.  They  pressed  on  : 
they  found  everywhere  the  droppings  from  the 
Gothic  flambeaux,  and  at  length  discovered  some 
Gothic  lamps.'  It  was  clear  that  the  enemy  had 
been  trying  by  these  means  to  steal  into  Kome. 
The  Goths  soon  perceived  that  Belisarius  was 
acquainted  with  their  adventure,  and  the  design, 
which  Witigis  had  discussed  in  a  council  of  war, 
of  following  up  the  quest  opened  by  the  exploring 
party,  was  promptly  abandoned  \ 

^  For  some  useful  hints  about  this  aqueduct-scheme  I  am 
indebted  to  Mr.  Bryce,  whose  example  I  followed  in  exploring 
the  entrance  into  the  Aqua  Virgo  in  the  Borghese  Gardens 
and  the  two  flights  of  steps  leading  down  to  it  from  the  summit 
of  the  Pincian  Hill.  It  seems  to  me  possible  that  the  steep 
spiral  staircase  outside  the  Villa  Medicis,  the  entrance  to  which 
is  by  a  door  called  '  Porta  del  Cocchigliare  dell'  Acqua  Vergine,' 

280  The  Blockade. 

BOOKV.  During  the  remainder  of  the  three  months  of 
^"•^'  nominal  truce  two  more  attempts  upon  the  City 
538-  were  made,  or  at  any  rate  planned,  by  the  bar- 
barians. One  was  upon  the  Pincian  Gate,  and 
was  arranged  for  the  hour  of  the  mid-day  meal, 
when  but  few  soldiers  were  likely  to  be  behind 
the  battlements.  The  Goths  were  coming  on  in 
loose  order,  with  ladders  to  mount  the  walls  and 
fire  to  burn  the  gate.  But  not  even  in  truce- 
time  were  the  walls  ever  left  quite  bare  of  guards. 
Fortunately,  it  was  then  the  turn  of  the  gallant 
Ildiger  to  keep  watch.  He  saw  the  loosely  mar- 
shalled band  advancing,  at  once  divined  their 
traitorous  design,  sallied  out  with  his  followers, 
easily  changed  their  disorderly  advance  into  an 
equally  disorderly  retreat,  and  slew  the  greater 
number  of  them.  A  great  clamour  was  raised  in 
Eome ;  the  Goths  saw  that  their  design  was 
discovered,  and  all  returned  to  their  camps. 

Scheme  for      The  ucxt  schemo  was  of  a  baser  kind,  and  was 


the  guards  worthy  of  the  confused  brain  from  which  it 
river-wall,  sprung.  It  has  been  said  that  the  wall  of  the 
City  between  the  Tomb  of  Hadrian  and  the 
Flaminian  Gate  was  low  and  destitute  of  towers, 
the  military  engineers  of  Aurelian  having  thought 
that  the  river  would  here  be  a  sufficient  protec- 
tion. Witigis  therefore  argued  thus  with  himself : 
'  If  I  could  only  lull  to  sleep  the  vigilance  of  the 
Koman  sentinels  on  that  piece  of  wall,  a  strong 

may  be  the  same  cochlea  by  which  the  troops  of  Belisarius  de- 
scended and  by  which  the  Goths  hoped  to  ascend  into  the  City. 

Scheme  for  drugging  the  Roman  sentinels,   281 
detachment  of  my  army  might  cross  the  river  in  book  v 

Ch.  9. 

boats,  climb  the  wall,  and  open  the  gates  of  the 
City  to  the  rest  of  the  army,  who  shall  be  all  wait-  ^^^' 
ing  outside.'  He  therefore  took  into  his  pay  two 
Romans,  probably  of  the  labouring  class,  who 
dwelt  near  the  great  basilica  of  St.  Peter.  They 
promised  to  take  a  large  skin  of  wine  to  these 
sentinels  about  nightfall,  offer  them  refreshment, 
keep  them  drinking  and  talking  till  far  into  the 
night,  and  when  they  were  too  drunk  to  observe 
anything,  throw  an  opiate,  with  which  Witigis 
provided  the  traitors,  into  their  cups.  The 
infamous  scheme  was  revealed  to  Belisarius  by 
one  of  its  intended  instruments^,  who  revealed 
also  the  name  of  his  accomplice.  The  latter 
under  torture  confessed  the  criminal  intention, 
and  surrendered  the  opiate  which  he  had  received 
from  Witigis,  Belisarius  cut  off  the  nose  and 
ears  of  the  unhappy  traitor, — these  barbarous 
mutilations  were  becoming  part  of  the  penal  code 
of  Constantinople, — and  sent  him  mounted  on  an 
ass  to  the  Gothic  camp  to  tell  his  dismal  tale  to 
his  royal  confederate.  '  When  the  barbarians  saw 
him  they  recognised  that  God  did  not  bring  their 
plans  to  a  successful  issue,  and  therefore  that  they 
would  never  be  able  to  capture  the  City.' 

By  these  two  attempts  (if  we    may  trust   the  John  com- 


statement  of  Procopius,  who  probably  throws  more  retaliatory 
blame  on  the  Goths  than  they  deserve)  the  three  in  Pice- 

^  Tor  it   was   not   destined,'   says   Procopius,   'that  Rome 
should  be  taken  by  this  army.' 

282  The  Blockade. 

BOOKV.  months'  truce  was  sufficiently  broken  to  justify 
°'  Belisarius  in  commencing  a  campaign  of  retali- 
^^^'  atioD.  He  sent  letters  to  John  ordering  him  to 
begin  the  operations  in  Picenum  which  had  been 
arranged  between  them.  John  marched  with  his 
two  thousand  horsemen  through  the  settlements 
of  the  Goths,    burning,    plundering,   wasting   all 

Death  of  that  belonged  to  the  enemy.  Ulitheus,  the  aged 
uncle  of  Witigis,  dared  to  meet  him  in  battle,  but 
was  slain,  and  almost  his  whole  army  fell  with 
him.  After  this,  none  would  face  him  in  the  field. 
Pressing  on  through  the  country  on  the  eastern 
slopes  of  the  Apennines,  he  came  to  the  fortresses 
of  Urbino  and  Osimo,  neither  of  them  garrisoned 
by  a  large  force  of  Goths,  but  both  strong  by  their 
natural  position.  According  to  the  orders  of 
Belisarius  he  should  have  reduced  each  of  these 
fortresses  before  proceeding  further,  but  the  cry 
of  his  army  and  his  own  military   instinct   both 

Ariminum  directed  a  bold  forward  movement  to  Rimini.     To 


that  city  by  the  Hadriatic  he  accordingly  marched, 
and  such  was  the  terror  of  the  Goths  that  he  carried 
it  at  the  first  assault.  It  is  true  that  he  had  not 
here,  as  in  the  cases  of  Urbino  and  Osimo,  to 
attack  a  high  hill  fortress,  for  Rimini,  though 
surrounded  with  walls,  lies  in  a  wide  plain  at  the 
mouth  of  the  Marecchia ;  and  the  supremacy  by  sea 
which  the  Byzantines  possessed  would  have  made 
it  a  difiicult  city  for  the  Goths  to  hold  against  a 
united  attack  by  sea  and  land. 

But  whatever  the  cause,  here  was  the  victorious 

Treachery  of  Matasuentha.  283 

army  of  John  in  possession  of  an  important  city  book  v. 

two  hundred  miles  in  the  rear  of  the  Gothic  army, L__ 

and  only  thirty-three,  a  single  day's  march,  from  ^^^^^  ^^ 
their  capital,  Kavenna.      John  had  ris^htly  calcu-  *^^^®  *^^: 

■I  '  o        ./  mgs  on  the 

lated  that  this  step  of  his  would  lead  to  the  raising  ^^^^^^^^^^^^ 
of  the  siege  of  Eome.  The  Goths,  thoroughly 
alarmed  for  the  safety  of  their  capital,  began  to 
chafe  at  every  day  spent  in  sight  of  those  walls 
which,  as  they  felt,  they  never  should  surmount. 
Their  King  too  had  his  own  reasons  for  sharing  their 
impatience  when  it  begran  to  be  whispered  that  his  Treachery 

.-      __  ,  ^  J^  .  ofMata- 

young  wife  Matasuentha,  proud  and  petulant,  and  suentha. 
never  forgiving  her  lowly-born  husband  for  the  com- 
pulsion which  had  brought  her  to  his  side  in  wed- 
lock, had  sent  secret  messages  to  John  at  Rimini 
congratulating  him  on  his  success,  and  holding  out 
to  him  hopes  that  she  would  betray  the  Gothic 
cause  if  he  would  accept  her  hand  in  marriage. 

So  it  came  to  pass  that  when  the  three  months  The  siege 
of  truce   had   expired,   although   no   tidings  had  about' 
been  received  from  the  ambassadors,    the    Goths  538^°    ^' 
resolved  to  abandon  their  blockade  of  Rome.      It 
was  near  the  time  of  the  Vernal  Equinox,  and  374 
days  from  the  commencement  of  the  siege,  when 
they  carried  this  resolution  into  effect.      At  dawn 
of  day,   having  set  all  their  seven  camps  on  fire, 
the  dispirited  mass  of  men  began  to  move  north- 
ward along  the  Flaminian  Way. 

The  Romans,  who  saw  them  departing,  were  for  The  Goths 
some  time  in  doubt  whether  to   pursue  them  or  ^^^^ ' 
rather  *  to  make  a  bridge  of  gold  for  a  retreating 

284  The  Blockade, 

BOOK  V.  foe/  The  absence  of  so  many  of  their  cavalry  in 
"'  '  Picenum  was  a  reason  for  leaving  them  unmo- 
^^^'      lested.     But  Belisarius  hastily  armed  as  large  a 

They  are  "^  ° 

attacked  forcc  as  hc  could  muster,  both  of  horse  and 
rius  while  foot,  and  whcn  half  the  Gothic  army  had  crossed 
the  Miivi-  the  Milvian  Bridge  he  launched  his  soldiers  forth 
^^  ^  '  from  the  Flaminian  Gate,  and  made  a  furious 
attack  on  the  Gothic  rear.  Mundilas,  the  escort 
of  Procopius,  conspicuous  in  so  many  pre- 
vious battles,  wrought  great  deeds  of  valour  in 
this,  fighting  four  barbarians  at  once  and  killing 
them  all.  Longinus^  an  Isaurian,  was  also 
among  the  foremost  in  the  fight,  which,  having 
been  for  some  time  doubtful,  ended  in  the  flight 
of  the  barbarians.  Then  followed  a  terrible  scene, 
Goth  struggling  with  Goth,  for  a  place  upon  the 
bridge  and  for  a  way  of  escape  from  the  devouring 
sword.  Many  fell  by  the  hands  of  their  own 
comrades,  many  were  pushed  off  the  bridge,  and, 
encumbered  by  the  weight  of  their  armour,  sank 
in  the  stream  of  the  Tiber.  Few,  according  to  the 
account  of  Procopius,  succeeded  in  struggling 
across  to  the  opposite  shore,  where  the  other  half 
of  the  army  stood  awaiting  them.  In  this  state- 
ment there  is  probably  some  exaggeration,  but 
there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  well-timed  attack 
of  Belisarius  inflicted  a  severe  blow  upon  the 
retreating  enemy.  The  joy  of  the  Eomans  in  their 
victory  was  alloyed  by  grief  for  the  death  of  the 
valiant  Longinus. 

^  Named  probably  after  Longinus  the  brother  of  Zeno. 

End  of  the  long  Siege,  285 

So  ended  the  long  siege  of  Eome  by  Witigis,  a  book  v. 

Ch,  9. 

siege  in  which  the  numbers  and  prowess  of  the 
Goths  were  rendered  useless  by  the  utter  inca-  ^^  ' 
pacity  of  their  commander.  Ignorant  how  to 
assault,  ignorant  how  to  blockade,  he  allowed 
even  the  sword  of  Hunger  to  be  wrested  from 
him  and  used  against  his  army  by  Belisarius.  He 
suffered  the  flower  of  the  Gothic  nation  to  perish, 
not  so  much  by  the  weapons  of  the  Eomans  as  by 
the  deadly  dews  of  the  Campagna.  With  heavy 
hearts  the  barbarians  must  have  thought,  as  they 
turned  them  northwards,  upon  the  many  graves 
of  gallant  men  which  they  were  leaving  on  that 
fatal  plain.  Some  of  them  must  have  suspected 
the  melancholy  truth  that  they  had  dug  one  grave, 
deeper  and  wider  than  all,  the  grave  of  the  Gothic 
monarchy  in  Italy. 



Source  :■ 

BOOKV.      Procopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  ii.  11-18  (pp.  igi-^iy). 
Ch.  10. 

538.  The   utter   failure    of   the    Gothic    enterprise 

against  Eome  did  not,  as  might  have  been  ex- 
pected, immediately  bring  about  the  fall  of  Ea- 
venna.  Unskilful  as  was  the  strategy  of  the 
Ostrogoths,  there  was  yet  far  more  power  of 
resistance  shown  by  them  than  by  the  Vandals. 
In  three  months  the  invasion  of  Africa  had  been 
brought  to  a  triumphant  conclusion.  The  war 
in  Italy  had  now  lasted  for  three  years,  two  more 
were  still  to  elapse  before  the  fall  of  the  Gothic 
capital  announced  even  its  apparent  conclusion. 
Desultory  Theso  two  Jcars  were  passed  in  somewhat 
the  next  dcsultory  fighting,  waged  partly  in  the  neighbour- 
wo  years,  j^^^^  ^£  Milan  and  partly  along  the  course  of  the 
great  Flaminian  Way.  Leaving  the  valley  of 
the  Po  for  the  present  out  of  our  calculations, 
we  will  confine  our  attention  to  the  long  struggle 
which  wasted  the  Umbrian  lands,  traversed  by 
the  great  north  road  of  Italy  which  bore  the  name 
of  Proconsul  Flaminius.     It  had  been  always  an 





500  Got/LS 

^vArmumim  (Btnuiu.) 

\X  2000  Romarv  CourcOry 
t^^ — ^  uncberr  John, 

Mons             '^^ 
500  Goths 


2000  Oaths  o 
under  Morras  p^ 

^  ^^==^gainiTii¥artQnae 
•^y^     ^"^Sejia  GaTtLca. 

'WO  GotfhS                            ^^Y     V^ 










■^'  '  4^00  Got 

under  Wo. 


woo  Goth^ 
xjjvdLer  Qelimer 









1000  Goths 









SketcliMap  of 


131  538. 

Hmruxn.  posiaxms  thews.  Ancona 
Gotfvuo         „  „    ..  Cesena 

288  The  Relief  of  Rimini. 

BOOKV.  important  highway.  By  it  the  legions  of  Caesar 
°'        had   marched   forth   to   conquer    Gaul,    and    had 

Th  ^vi      returned  to  conquer   the    Eepublic.     The    course 

Fiaminia.  of  evonts  in  the  fifth  and  sixth  centuries  which 
made  Rome  and  Ravenna  both,  in  a  certain  sense, 
capitals  of  Italy,  gave  to  the  two  hundred  and 
thirty  miles  of  road  between  those  capitals  an 
importance,  political  and  military,  such  as  it  had 
never  possessed  before. 

General  ar-      Notwithstanding^  some  slis^ht   curves,  we   mav 

rangement         ...  " 

of  the        think  of  this  road  as  runningr  due  north  and  south, 

forces  of  .  T-x  .        . 

the  com-     siuco  Raveuna  is  in   almost   precisely   the    same 

batants.       i  •        t  -r»  i  .  r-    i       i  • 

longitude  as  Rome :  and  at  the  pomt  of  the  history 
which  we  have  now  reached  the  fortresses  to  the 
right  of  it  are  for  the  most  part  in  the  hands  of 
the  Emperor's  generals,  while  nearly  all  those  on 
the  left  are  held  for  the  Gothic  King.  This  was 
the  manner  in  which  the  latter  disposed  of  his 
forces.  At  Urbs  Vetus,  the  modem  Orvieto,  were 
looo  men  under  the  command  of  Albilas.  At 
Clusium^  that  tomb  of  old  Etruscan  greatness, 
looo  under  Gelimer.  At  Tuder,  now  Todi,  which 
also  still  preserves  the  memory  of  Etruria  by  its 
ancient  walls,  there  were  400  Goths  under  Uli- 
gisalus.     Fiesole,  which  from  her  high  perch  looks 

^  I  must  ask  the  reader  to  excuse  some  apparent  incon- 
sistency in  my  use  of  ancient  and  modern  names.  I  prefer 
Clusium  to  Chiusi  because  'Lars  Porsena  of  Clusium'  has 
made  every  schoolboy  familiar  with  the  former:  but  for  the 
sake  of  Signorelli's  frescoes  and  Francesca's  death  I  prefer 
Orvieto  and  Rimini  to  the  less  easily  recognised  Urbs  Vetus 
and  Ariminum. 

Arrangement  of  Gothic  and  Roman  Armies.   289 

down  upon  Florence  and  the  vale  of  Arno,  was  book  v. 
another  Gothic  stronghold,  but  we  are  not  told  ' 
by  how  many  men  it  was  occupied.  Osimo,  which  ^^  " 
similarly  overlooks  Ancona  and  the  Hadriatic, 
was  held  by  4000  picked  troops  under  Visandus, 
and  here,  the  advance  of  Belisarius  was  to  be 
checked  by  a  more  stubborn  resistance  than  was 
maintained  by  any  of  the  other  Gothic  garrisons. 
At  Urbino  were  stationed  2000  Gotbs  under 
Morras.  Mons  Feletris  (the  high  rock  of  S.  Leo 
and  the  original  capital  of  the  mediaeval  princi- 
pality of  Montefeltro^)  was  occupied  by  500  Goths, 
and  Cesena  by  the  like  number.  All  of  these 
places  were  high  city-crowned  hills  of  the  kind 
with  which  not  only  the  traveller  in  Italy  but 
the  student  of  pictures  painted  by  the  Umbrian 
masters  is  so  familiar.  They  all  bring  back  to 
the  memory  of  an  Englishman  those  graphic  lines 
of  Macaulay, — 

'Like  an  eagle's  nest 
Perched  on  the  crest 
Of  purple  Aj)ennine.' 

Such  were  the  Gothic  strongholds. 

On  the  other  side  the  Romans  held  Narni, 
Spoleto,  Perugia,  and,  across  the  central  mountain- 
chain,  Ancona  and  Kimini. 

A  glance  at  the  map  will  show  how  the  com- 
batants were  ranged,  as  if  for  one  vast  pitched 
battle,  along  the  line  of  the  Flaminian  Way :  and 

^  See  Dennistonn's  Dukes  of  Urbino,  i.  71,  where  there  is  a 
striking  view  of  this  most  peculiar  cliff-fortress. 
VOL.  IV.  U 

290  The  Relief  of  Rimini, 

BOOKV.  the  reader  will  not  fail   to    notice    the   outlying 

Ch.  10 

posts  held  by  each  party :  Orvieto,  within 
seventy-four  miles  of  Eome,  garrisoned  by 
Goths ;  Eimini,  within  thirty-three  miles  of 
Kavenna,  garrisoned  by  Eomans.  If  we  may 
be  permitted  to  take  a  simile  from  chess,  each 
player  has  one  piece  pushed  far  up  towards 
the  enemy's  line,  threatening  to  cry  check  to  the 
king,  but  itself  in  serious  danger  if  not  strongly 
Beiisarius       Bclisarius  had  no  mind  to  leave  his  piece  so 

recalls  J- 

johnfrom  dangcrousty  advanced.  By  a  brilliant  display  of 
rashness,  and  it  must  be  added  of  insubordination, 
John,  with  his  2000  Isaurian  horsemen,  had  ad- 
vanced to  Eimini ;  and  now  the  commander-in- 
chief,  w^anting  the  Isaurians  for  other  service, 
ordered  them  to  withdraw  from  that  perilous 
position.  Summoning  his  son-in-law  Ildiger,  and 
Martin  (the  veteran  of  the  Vandal  war  and  the 
sharer  in  the  flight  of  Solomon),  who  had  come 
out  with  the  recent  reinforcements  to  Italy,  he 
put  1 000  horsemen  under  their  command  and  gave 
them  a  commission  to  take  his  orders  to  John. 
These  orders  were  that  he  should  withdraw  with 
all  his  troops  from  Eimini,  leaving  in  it  a  small 
garrison  of  picked  soldiers  drawn  from  the  too 
numerous  defenders  of  Ancona,  which  had  been 
taken  possession  of  by  Conon  at  the  head  of  his 
Thracians  and  Isaurians.  The  very  smallness  of 
the  garrison  at  Eimini  would,  Belisarius  hoped, 
induce  the  Goths  to  pass  it  by  unmolested ;  while, 

Ildiger  and  Martin  07i  the  Flaminian  Way,     291 
on  the  other  hand,  two  thousand  cavalry  soldiers,  book  v. 

Ch.  10. 


the  flower  of  the  Isaurian  reinforcements,  would 
offer  a  tempting  prize  to  the  enemy,  to  whom  they 
would,  if  left  at  Rimini,  soon  be  compelled  to  sur- 
render by  shortness  of  provisions. 

Ildiger  and  Martin,  whose  watchword  wa,s  speed,  naiger  and 

,        ,          ,        ,        .  ,  Martin  on 

soon    distanced   the    barbarian    army    who    were  the  Fiami- 
marching  in  the  same    direction,  but   who   were  ^^^^ 
an  unwieldy  host,  and  were  obliged  to  make  a 
long  circuit  whenever  they  came  near  a  Roman 
fortress.     As  many  of  our  actors  have  to  traverse  Probable 
the  same  Flaminian  Way  in  the  course  of  the  next  their 
few  years,  it  may  be  well  briefly  to  describe  the  ^*^"^"®^' 
journey  of  these  two  officers,  though  assuredly  they, 
in  their  breathless  haste,  took  not  much  note  of 
aught  beside  castles  and  armies. 

Issuing   forth   from    Rome   by   the    Flaminian  First  day: 
Gate    (Porta  del  Popolo),    and   after    two   miles'  Tiber 
journey  crossing  the  Tiber  by  the   Ponte  Molle, 
they  would  keep  along  the  high  table-land  on  the 
right   bank  of  that   river   till  they   reached  the 
base  of  precipitous  Soracte — 

'  Not  now  in  snow/ 
but  which 

'from  out  the  plain 
Heaved  like  a  long-swept  wave  about  to  break, 
And  on  the  curl  hung  pausing^.' 

Soon  after  Soracte  was  left  behind,  they  would 
pass  through  the  long  ravine-girdled  street  of 
Falerii    (near    Civita   Castellana),    and    then    at 

^  Childe  Harold,  iv.  74,  75. 
U  2 

292  The  Relief  of  Rimini. 

EOOKv.  Borghetto,  thirtv-eight  miles  ^  from  Kome,  would 

Ch  10  .         ^  . 

L_    cross  the  Tiber  again  and  strike  into  the  Sabine 

^^  ■  hills.  The  town,  which  is  called  in  inscriptions 
'  splendidissima  civitas  Ocricolana/  now  represented 
by  the  poor  little  village  of  Otricoli,  at  a  distance  of 
forty-five  miles  from  Eome,  might  possibly  receive 
them  at  the  end  of  their  first  day's  journey. 
Second  Ncxt   day   they    would    fairly    enter    the    old 

the  valley  proviuce  of  Umbria^,  exchano^e  greetinsfs  with  the 

of  the  Nar.  ^  .  .  .        .  .  . 

friendly  garrison  of  Narni,  high  up  on  its  hill,  and 
gaze  down  on  the  magnificent  bridge  of  Augustus, 
whose  single  arch  still  stands  so  proudly  in  the 
ravine  through  which  Nar's  white  waters  are 
rolling.  Perchance  on  a  still  summers  day  they 
might  hear  the  roar  of  the  cascades  of  Velinus  as 
they  rode  out  from  the  city  of  Interamnia  (Terni). 
The  second  day's  journey  of  forty  miles  would  be 
ended  as  they  wound  up  the  hill  of  Spoleto  and 
entered  the  strong  fortress  built  upon  its  height 
by  King  Theodoric.  They  aie  still  mounting  up 
the  valley  of  the  sulphurous  Nar,  and  are  now 
in  the  heart  of  what  was  formerly  one  of  the  most 
prosperous  pastoral  regions  of  Italy.  The  softly- 
flowing  Clitumnus,  by  which  perchance  Virgil  once 
walked,  viewing  with  a  farmer's  admiring  eye  the 
cattle   in  its   meadows^,  accompanies  them  when 

^  These  distances  are  all  given  in  Roman  miles.     The  Roman 
mile  is  about  eight  per  cent,  shorter  than  the  English. 
^  At  this  time  forming  part  of  Tuscia  et  Umbria. 
^  Hinc  albi,  Clitumne,  greges  et  maxima  taurus 
Victima,  saepe  tuo  perfusi  flumine  sacro, 
Romanos  ad  templa  deum  duxere  triumphos.' 

(Georgic  ii.  146-148.) 

The  Flaminian   Way,  293 

they  start  on  their  next  day's  journey,  and  they  book  v. 
pass  almost  within  sight  of  Mevania,  which,  like    ^^'  '^^' 
Clitumnus,   nourished    the    far-famed    milk-white      ^•^^" 
oxen  that  were  slain  for  sacrifice  on  Eome's  great 
days  of  triumph  ^ 

On  this  their  third  day's  march  they  would  pass  Third  day: 
the  low-lying    city    of  Fulginium,   now    Foligno.  Topmo 
They  might  look  down  the  valley  of  the  Topino,  the  Apen- 
past  the  hill  on  which  now  stand   the   terraced  ^^^^^' 
sanctuaries  of  Assisi,  to  the  dim  rock  where  the 
stronghold  of  Perugia  was  held  by   the  faithful 
soldiers  of  the  Emperor.     But  their  course  lies  up 
the  stream  in  a  different  direction.     It  is  here  that 
they  begin  to  set  themselves  definitely  to  cross  the 
great  chain  of  the  Apennines,  whose  high  peaks 
have  lona'  been  breaking:  the  line  of  their  northern 



horizon.  Past  the  city  and  market  which  bore  the 
name  of  the  great  road-maker  Flaminius^,  they 
ride,  ascending  ever,  but  by  no  severe  gradient, 
till  they  reach  the  upland  region  in  which  Nucera, 
Tadinum  ^,  Helvillum  are  situated,  and  see  rising 
on  their  left  the  sharp  serrated  ridge  at  the  foot 
of  which,  on  the  other  side,  lies  the  ancient  Umbrian 
capital  of  Iguvium^.  They  are  breathing  moun- 
tain air,  and,  if  it  be  now  the  month  of  June,  the 
snow  is  still  lingering  in  patches  on  the  summits  of 

^  'And  deck  the  bull,  Mevania's  bull, 

The  bull  as  white  as  snow.' 

(Macaulay,  Lays  of  Ancient  Rome.) 
"^  Forum  Flaminii,  now  curiously  metamorphosed  into  S.  Gio- 
vanni in  Forifiamma. 

^  Now  Nocera,  Tadino,  Sigillo,  *  Now  Gubbio. 

294  The  Relief  of  Rimini. 

BOOKV.  the  Apennines;  but  the  road  is  good,  and  easily 

L  passable  everywhere,  even  by  a  large  and  encum- 

^^^*  bered  army.  And  here,  it  may  be  on  the  summit 
of  the  pass  just  beyond  the  place  ^  where  the 
waters  divide,  these  flowing  southwards  to  the 
Tiber,  those  northwards  and  eastwards  towards  the 
Adriatic,  our  horsemen  end  their  day's  journey  ;  a 
long  and  toilsome  one,  for  we  have  supposed  them 
to  travel  on  this  day  fifty-six  miles.  At  the  place 
where  they  halt  for  the  night  there  is  a  posting 
station  2,  with  a  sword  for  its  sign^.  This  sign 
might  have  been  of  prophetic  import,  for  here 
probably,  upon  the  crest  of  the  Apennines,  on  the 
site  of  the  modern  village  of  Scheggia,  was  fought, 
fourteen  years  later,  the  decisive  battle  between 
the  chosen  Gothic  champion  and  the  lieutenant 
of  the  Byzantine  Emperor. 
Fourth  The   fourth   morning    dawns,   and    the    flying 

battle  of  column  must  be  early  in  their  saddles,  for  they 
tii^sa.^  ^^  suspect  that  there  is  tough  work  awaiting  them 
to-day.  Down  through  the  narrow  gorge  of  the 
Burano,  over  at  least  one  bridge  whose  Boman 
masonry  still  endures  to  our  own  days,  they  ride 
for  two  hours  till  they  reach  the  fair  city  of  Gales*, 

^  Now  called  Casa  di  due  Acque. 

^  'Mutatio.'  Ordinary  travellers  would  choose  a  'mansio' 
like  that  at  Helvillum  rather  than  a  mere  '  mutatio '  to  spend 
the  night  in. 

^  Ad  Ensem  in  the  Tabula  Peutingeriana.  Corrupted  into 
Ad  Aesim  in  the  Itinerary  of  Antoninus. 

*  Its  site  was  a  little  above  its  present  representative  Cagli, 
which  was  built  in  the  thirteenth  century  (Mochi,  Storia  di 


Woodburytype.  J 

\_Betweeii  pages  294,  295. 

Petra  Pektusa. 

Petra  Pertusa.  295 

situated  on  the  flanks  of  the  precipitous  Monte  book  v. 

Petrano.     And  now  at  last,  at  the  station  which  _^ L 

goes  sometimes  by  the  name  of  Intercisa,  some-  ^^  " 
times  by  that  of  Petra  Pertusa\  and  which  is 
twenty-three  miles  from  their  mornings  starting- 
point,  they  find  their  onward  course  checked,  and 
recognise  that  only  by  hard  fighting  can  they  win 
through  to  bear  the  all -important  message  to 
Rimini.  For  what  happened  at  Intercisa  we  need 
not  draw  upon  our  imaginations,  since  we  find  our- 
selves here  again  under  the  guidance  of  Procopius. 
This  is  his  description  of  Petra,  a  description 
evidently  the  result  of  personal  observation  : — 

*  This  fortress  was  not  built  by  the  hands  of  man,  Procopius's 
but  was  called  into  being ^  by  the  nature   of  the  of  Petra"^^^ 
place,  for  the  road  is  here  through  an  extremely  (Passo^di 
rocky  country.     On  the  right  of  this  road  runs  a 
river,   ford  able   by   no    man   on   account    of    the 
swiftness  of  its   current.      On    the    left,  near  at 
hand,  a  cliff  rises,  abrupt  and  so  lofty  that  if  there 
should  chance  to  be  any  men  on  its  summit  they 
seem  to  those  at  its  base  only  like  very  little  birds. 
At  this  point,  long  ago,  there  was  no  possibility 
of  advance  to  the  traveller  ;   the  rock  and  river 
between  them  barring  all  further  progress.     Here 
then  the  men  of  old  hewed  out  a  passage  through 

Cagli,  pp.  13  and  14).  Cagli  boasts  a  lovely  picture  by  the 
father  of  Raffaelle. 

'  Procopius  generally  calls  it  simply  Petra :  twice  (vol.  ii. 
pp.  609  and  636)  Petra  Pertusa. 

2  More  literally,  '  was  invented  by  the  nature  of  the  place ' 
{oKka  Tov  x^^P^ov  f]  (j)vais  e^cvpev). 

296  The  Relief  of  Rimini. 

BOOKV.  the   rock,    and    thus    made    a    doorway   mto    the 
^^'  ^^'    country  beyond.      A  few  fortifications  above  and 
^^^'      around  the  gate  turned  it  into  a  natural  fortress  of 
great  size,  and  they  called  its  name  Petra  [Pertusa].' 
Present  The   sHght   additional  fortifications   which   the 

of  the  place  received  from  the  hand  of  man  have  disap- 
Kock.  peared,  but  the  natural  features  of  the  Passo  di 
Furlo  ^ — so  the  passage  is  now  called — precisely 
correspond  to  this  description  of  Procopius.  Coming 
from  Cagli  on  the  south,  one  enters  a  dark  and 
narrow  gorge,  as  grand,  though  not  as  long,  as  the 
Via  Mala  in  Switzerland,  and  sees  the  great  wall 
of  rock  rising  higher  and  higher  on  the  left,  the 
mountain  torrent  of  the  Candigliano  foaming  and 
chafing  angrily  below.  At  length,  when  all  further 
progress  seems  barred,  the  'end  of  a  tunnel  is  per- 
ceived ;  we  enter,  and  pass  for  120  feet  through  the 
heart  of  the  cliff.  Emerging,  we  find  the  mountain 
pass  ended  :  we  see  a  broad  and  smiling  landscape 
before  us,  and  looking  back  we  read  upon  the 
northern  face  of  the  rock  the  following  inscription, 
telling  us  that  the  passage  was  hewn  at  the  com- 
mand of  the  founder  of  the  Flavian  dynasty, 
seventy-six  years  after  the  birth  of  Christ : — 

IMP    .    CAESAR    .    AVa 

VESPASIAN VS    .    PONT    .    MAX 

TRIE    .    POT    .    VII    .    IMP.    XVII    .P.P.    COS    .    VIII '^ 


^  The  modern  name  Furlo,  probably  irom.  forulus  (mediaeval 
Latin  for  a  sheath),  Petra  Pertusa  (of  Procopius),  and  Intercisa 
(of  the  Jerusalem  Itinerary),  all  express  the  same  idea,  and  may 
all  be  translated  '  The  Tunnelled  Eock.' 

^  There  certainly  appears  to  be  a  stroke  after  the  consular 

Petra  Periusa.  297 

An  inscription,  probably  of  similar  purport,  over  book  v. 
the    southern    end    of  the   tunnel   has   been  obli-  — \ — L 

terated.  ^^^* 

Of  course  to  our  generation,  which  has  seen  the 
St.  Gothard  and  the  Mont  Cenis  j^ierced  by  tunnels 
twelve  miles  in  length,  or  even  to  the  generation 
before  us  which  beheld  the  galleries  hewn  in  the 
rock  for  the  great  Alpine  roads  of  Napoleon  and 
his  imitators,  this  work  has  nothing  that  is  in 
itself  marvellous.  But  when  we  remember  that 
the  Komans  were  unacquainted  with  the  use  of 
gunpowder,  and  consequently,  as  blasting  was 
impossible,  every  square  inch  of  rock  had  to  be 
hewn  out  with  axe  and  chisel,  we  shall  see  that 
there  is  something  admirable  in  the  courage 
which  planned  and  the  patience  which  accom- 
plished so  arduous  a  work\ 

VII,  but  the  clironolog3'  requires  vii  not  Vlil.  S.  Mochi  (p,  56) 
argues  that  the  first  i,  which  is  an  imperfect  letter,  has  been 
added  by  a  later  hand. 

^  According  to  S.  Mochi,  another  much  smaller  tunnel, 
running  nearly  at  right  angles  to  that  of  Vespasian,  was  made 
by  the  Umbrians  before  their  subjection  to  Rome.  This  is  very 
possibly  true,  but  Mochi's  argument  that  it  is  proved  by  Pro- 
copius's  language  about  '  the  men  of  old '  is  not,  I  think,  a  sound 
one.  The  dimensions  of  this  little  tunnel  (now  almost  or 
entirely  concealed  by  a  wall)  are  26  feet  long,  15  feet  high, 
and  1 1  feet  wide.  The  similar  dimensions  of  Vespasian's  tunnel 
are  125  feet  of  length,  17 J  feet  average  width,  and  17  feet 
average  height.  It  is  considerably  wider  and  higher  in  the 
middle  than  at  either  end,  and  the  northern  end  is  somewhat 
lower  and  narrower  than  the  southern.  Mochi  thinks  that  the 
Romans,  before  Vespasian's  tunnel  was  constructed,  carried  the 
road  round  outside  the  rock  on  an  artificial  platform  raised 
above  the  stream. 

298  The  Relief  of  Rimini, 

BOOKV.  Before  this  mountain  gateway,  additionally 
',  fenced    and    guarded    by   some    few   towers    and 

^j^^^^'      battlements,  and  provided  with  chambers  for  .the 

^^^^'  accommodation  of  the  sentinels,  Ildiger  and  Mar- 

tin, with  their  thousand  travel-stained  horsemen, 
appeared  and  summoned  its  garrison  to  surrender. 
The  garrison  refused :  and  for  some  time  the 
Eoman  horsemen  discharged  their  missiles  to  no 
purpose.  The  Goths  attempted  no  reply,  but 
simply  remained  quiet  and  invulnerable  in  their 
stronghold.  Then  the  Imperialist  troops — among 
whom  there  were  very  probably  some  sure-footed 
Isaurian  highlanders — clambered  up  the  steep  hill- 
side and  rolled  down  vast  masses  of  rock  on  the 
fortress  below.  Wherever  these  missiles  came 
in  their  thundering  course  "they  knocked  off  some 
piece  of  masonry  or  some  battlement  of  a  tower. 
In  the  tunnel  itself,  the  Goths  would  have  been 
safe  even  from  this  rocky  avalanche  :  but  they 
were  in  the  watch-towers,  and  it  was  perhaps  too 

The  Goths  late  to  scck  the  tunnel's  shelter.  Utterly  cowed, 
they  stretched  forth  their  hands  to  such  of  the 
Imperialist  soldiers  as  still  remained  in  the  road- 
w^ay,  and  signified  their  willingness  to  surrender. 
Their  submission  was  accepted.  They  promised 
to  become  the  faithful  servants  of  the  Emperor, 
and  to  obey  the  orders  of  Belisarius.  A  few, 
with  their  wives  and  children,  were  left  as  the 
Imperialist  garrison  of  the  fortress  :  the  rest 
appear  to  have  marched  under  the  banner  of 
their   late   assailants    onward   to    Eimini.      Petra 

The  Flaminian   Way.  299 

Pertusa  was  won,   and  the  Flaminian   Way  was  book  v. 

cleared,  from  Kome  to  the  Hadriatic.  '. L 

If  there  was  yet  time  the  successful  assailants      ^^  ' 

*^  ^  Journey 

would  probably  push    on  in  order  to  spend  the  continued 
nisfht   m    comfortable    quarters    at    Forum    Sem-  vaiiey  of 

..  -r        •  •  ^  •  -11  theMe- 

pronn.  It  is  a  journey  oi  nine  miles  down  taurus, 
the  broadening  valley  of  the  Metaurus.  To 
every  loyal  Koman  heart  this  is  classic  ground, 
for  here  Livius  and  Nero  won  that  famous  victory 
over  Hasdrubal,  which  saved  Italy  from  becoming 
a  dependency  of  Carthage.  One  of  the  high 
mountains  that  we  have  passed  on  our  left  bears 
yet  the  name  of  Monte  Nerone  in  memory  of  the 
battle.  What  more  immediately  concerns  the 
soldiers  of  Justinian  is  that  the  side  valley,  the 
mouth  of  which  they  are  now  passing,  leads  up  to 
Urbino,  thirteen  miles  off,  and  that  Morras  with 
his  2000  Goths  holds  that  place  for  Witigis.  But 
the  barbarians  seem  to  be  keeping  close  in  their 
rock-fortress,  and  without  molestation  from  their 
foraging  parties,  Ildiger  and  Martin  reach  the 
friendly  shelter  of  Forum  Sempronii.  This  place,  of 
which  there  are  still  some  scanty  ruins  left  about 
a  mile  from  its  successor  and  strangely  disguised 
namesake,  Fossombrone,  was  in  Eoman  times  an 
important  centre  of  trade  and  government,  a  fact 
which  is  vouched  for  by  the  large  collection  of  in- 
scriptions now  preserved  at  the  modern  city^ 
Next  day,  the  fifth  of  their  journey  according  to 

^  In  the  Seminario.     Some  of  them  have  a  curious  mixture 
of  Greek  and  Latin  characters. 

300  The  Relief  of  Rimini. 

BOOK  V.  our  calculations,  the  horsemen  would  travel,  still  by 

Ch  10 

-^ 1 L  the  banks  of  the  Metaurus  and  under  the  shade  of 

Fifth^da  •  ^^^   beautiful  groves    of  oak.      Sea-breezes  and  a 
they  reach  touch  of  cooluess  in  the  air  warn  them  that  they 

Jbano  on  '^ 

the  Hadri-  ^ro  approachiug  the  Hadriatic  ;  but  still,  if  they 
look  back  over  the  route  which  they  have  traversed, 
they  can  see  the  deep  cleft  in  the  Apennine  wall 
caused  by  the  gorge  of  Petra,  a  continuing  memorial 
of  the  hard-fought  fight  of  yesterday.  At  the  end 
of  sixteen  miles  they  reach  the  little  city  by  the 
sea  which  bears  the  proud  name  of  the  Temple  of 
Fortune  (Fanum  Fortune e).  Its  modern  represen- 
tative, Fano,  still  keeps  its  stately  walls,  mediaeval 
themselves,  but  by  the  quadrangular  shape  of 
their  enclosure  marking  the  site  of  their  Koman 
predecessors  :  and  we  can  still  behold  the  Arch 
of  Augustus,  added  to  by  Constantine,  under 
which  in  all  probability  rode  the  horsemen  of 

Southwards  from  Fano  the  great  highway  runs 
along  the  seashore  to  Sena  Gallica  (Sinigaglia)  and 
Ancona,  which  latter  place  is  distant  forty  miles  from 

The  officers  the  Fauc  of  Fortuue.      To  Ancona  the  two  officers 

go  south- 
ward to      proceed,   turninsf    their    backs    for    a    moment    on 

Ancona,  ... 

and  return  Eimiui.      They  collect  a  considerable  number  of 

from  "^ 

thence  to    foot-soldiers  at  Ancona,  wend  back  with  them  to 

Rimini.  i  i  • 

Fano,  and  then,  turning  northwards  and  passing 
through  the  little  town  of  Pisaurum,  traverse  the 
forty-four  miles  which  separate  Kimini  from  Fano. 
They  reach  Eimini  on  the  third  day  after  leaving 
Ancona,  the   ninth  (according  to  our  conjectural 

Ariminum.  301 

arrangement  of  their  journey)  since  their  departure  book  v. 
from  Eome\  ' 

Eimini  is  now  a  tolerably  brie^ht  and  cheerful      ^^^* 

.  View  of 

Italian  city,  with  a  considerable  wealth  of  mediaeval  Ariminuia 
interest.  The  great  half-finished  church  (instinct 
with  the  growing  Paganism  of  the  early  Kenais- 
sance),  which  bears  the  name  of  '  The  Temple  of  the 
Malatestas/  and  which  shows  everywhere  the  sculp- 
tured elephant,  badge  of  that  lawless  house,  every- 
where the  intertwined  initials  of  Sigismund  and  his 
mistress  Isotta, — the  chapel  in  the  market-place, 
where  a  Saint  Anthony  of  Padua,  distressed  that 
men  would  not  hearken  to  him,  preached  to  the  silent 
congregation  of  the  fishes, — the  house  of  Francesca 
da  Rimini,  where  she  read  the  story  of  Lancelot 
with  her  ill-fated  lover,  and  '  that  day  read  no 
further,' — these  are  some  of  the  chief  spots  hal- 
lowed by  the  associations  of  the  Middle  Ages  2. 
But  the  classical  interests  of  the  city  are  at  least 
equally  strong.  Here,  in  the  market-place,  is  the 
little  square  suggestus  on  which,  so  men  say,  Julius 
Caesar  sprang  to  harangue  his  troops  after  the 
passage  of  the  Rubicon.  Here  is  a  fine  triumphal 
arch  of  Augustus,  perhaps  somewhat  spoiled  by 

^  'Ev6evde  re  es  ^AyKmva  eXdovres  Koi  noWovs  dnayayofievoi  rciyv  €<€i 
7re^a>v  es  'Apiixrjvov  Tpiraioi  a.(f)LKovTO,  Trjv  re  BeXiaapiov  yvdijxrjv  drrrjy- 
yeWov.  The  rpiToioi  of  course  refers  to  their  departure  from 
Ancona.  Eighty-four  miles  would  be  three  good  days'  marches 
for  the  'many  foot-soldiers'  by  whom  they  were  accompanied 
from  Ancona. 

^  For  a  full  description  of  the  architectural  interests  both  of 
Rimini  and  Ancona  I  must  refer  my  readers  to  Freeman's 
Historical  and  Architectural  Sketches  (1876,  pp.  135-156). 

302  The  Relief  of  Rimini. 

BOOK  V.  the  incongruous  additions  of  the  Middle  Ages,  but 
^"'  ^^'  still  bearing  on  its  two  fronts,  the  faces,  in  good 
^^^'  preservation,  of  Jupiter  and  Minerva,  of  Venus 
and  Neptune.  Above  all,  here  still  stands  the 
Koman  bridge  of  five  stately  arches  spanning  the 
wide  stream  of  the  Marecchia.  Two  slabs  in  the 
parapet  of  this  bridge,  which  the  contadino,  coming 
in  to  market,  brushes  with  his  sleeve,  record,  in  fine 
and  legible  characters,  that  the  bridge  was  begun 
in  the  last  year  of  Augustus  and  finished  in  the 
seventh  year  of  Tiberius.  Below  the  parapet,  on 
the  centre-stones  of  the  arches,  are  yet  visible  the 
Augur's  wand,  the  civic  wreath,  the  funeral  urn, 
and  other  emblems  attesting  the  religious  character 
of  the  rites  with  which  the  Imperial  bridge-maker 
{Poiitifex  Maximus)  consecrated  his  handiwork. 
John  re-  When  Ildigcr  and  Martin  stood  before  John  in 
obey  the  the  Practorium  at  Ariminum  and  delivered  the 
Beiisarius.  mossage  of  Bclisarius,  that  general  flatly  refused 
to  obey  it.  It  is  difficult  to  understand  how 
John  could  have  excused  to  himself  such  a 
violation  of  that  implicit  obedience  which  is 
the  first  duty  of  the  soldier :  but  the  one  defect 
in  the  military  character  of  Beh sarins — a  defect 
which  parts  him  off  from  the  general  whom  in 
many  respects  he  so  greatly  resembles,  Marl- 
borough— was  his  failure  to  obtain  the  hearty 
and  loyal  co-operation  of  his  subordinate  officers. 
There  may  have  been  a  strain  of  capricious  un- 
reasonableness in  his  own  character  to  produce 
this  result  :  or  it  may  have  been  due  to  the  fact 

Siege  of  Rimini  by   Witigis.  303 

that  he  was  too  obviously  guided  in  important  affairs  book  v. 

Ch.  10. 


by  the  whims  and  the  animosities  of  Antonina. 

Whatever  the  cause,  John  refused  to  part  with 
the  2000  horsemen  under  his  command,  or  to 
evacuate  Kimini.  Damian  also,  his  lieutenant, 
elected  to  abide  with  him.  All  that  Ildiger  and 
Martin  could  do  was  to  withdraw  the  soldiers  who 
belonged  to  the  household  of  Belisarius,  to  leave 
tlie  infantry  brought  from  Ancona,  and  to  depart, 
which  they  did  with  all  speed  \ 

Before  long,  Witigis  and  his  army  stood  before  Kimini  be- 
the  walls  of  Ariminum.  They  constructed  a  witigis. 
wooden  tower  high  enough  to  overtop  the  battle- 
ments and  resting  on  four  strong  wheels.  Taking 
warniug  by  their  experience  at  the  siege  of  Kome, 
thev  did  not,  this  time,  avail  themselves  of  oxen  to 
draw  their  tower,  but  arranged  that  it  should  be 
pushed  along  by  men  inside,  protected  from  the 
arrows  of  the  foe.  A  broad  and  winding  staircase  The  move- 
inside — perhaps  not  unlike  that  which  leads  to  the 
top  of  the  Campanile  of  St.  Mark's  at  Venice — 
enabled  large  bodies  of  troops  to  ascend  and  de- 
scend rapidly.  On  the  night  after  this  huge 
machine  was  completed,  they  betook  themselves 
to  peaceful  slumber,  making  no  doubt  that  next 
day  the  city  would  be  theirs  ;  a  belief  which  was 
fully  shared  by  the  disheartened  garrison,  who 
saw  that  no  obstacle  existed  to  hinder  the  progress 
of  the   dreaded   tower  to  their  walls.     Not  yet, 

*  Ot  hk  Tovs  TTe^ovs  avrov  dTTokmovTes  Kara  rd^os  ivOivhc  ^vv  rois 
BeXicrapiov  dopv(f)6pois  re  Koi  vnaa-TnarTois  dvexoi)pr](rav. 

304  The  Relief  of  Rimini, 

BOOK  V.  however,  would  the  energetic  John  yield  to  despair. 
^'  ^^'  Leaving  the  main  body  of  the  garrison  to  guard 
^^'^'  the  walls  in  their  usual  order,  he  secretly  sallied 
forth  at  dead  of  night  with  a  band  of  hardy  Isau- 
rians,  all  supplied  w^ith  mattocks  and  trenching 
tools.  Working  with  a  will,  but  in  deep  silence, 
the  brawny  mountaineers  succeeded,  before  day- 
break, in  excavating  a  deep  trench  in  front  of  the 
tower :  and,  moreover,  the  earth  which  they  had 
dug  out  from  the  trench  being  thrown  up  on  the 
inside  interposed  the  additional  obstacle  of  a 
mound  between  the  besiegers  and  their  prey  ^. 
Neither  trench  nor  mound  seems  to  have  gone  all 
round  the  city,  but  they  sufficiently  protected  a 
weak  portion  of  the  walls,  against  which  the  Goths 
had  felt  secure  of  victory.  Just  before  dawn  the 
barbarians  discovered  what  was  being  done,  and 
rushed  at  full  speed  against  the  trenching  party; 
but  John,  well  satisfied  with  his  night's  work, 
retreated  quietly  within  the  city. 

The  tower       ^t  dav-brcak  Witigis,  who  saw  with  sore  heart- 
found  use-  ^  ^ 

less.  ache  the  hated  obstacle  to  his  hopes,  put  to  death 

the  careless  guards  whose  slumbers  had  made  it 
possible  to  construct  it.  He  still  determined, 
however,  to  try  his  expedient  of  the  tower,  and 
ordered  his  men  to  fill  up  the  trench  with  fascines. 
This  they  did,  though  under  a  fierce  discharge  of 
stones  and  arrows  from  the  walls.     But  when  the 

*  An  interesting  passage,  as  illustrating  the  way  in  which 
fosse  and  agger  were  constructed  in  the  great  limitary  works 
of  the  Romans  in  Britain  and  Germany. 

The  Gothic  Tower  made  useless,  305 

ponderous  engine  advanced  over  the  edge  of  the  book  v. 
trench,  the  fascines  bent  and   cracked   under   its 

weight,  and  the  impelling  soldiers  found  it  im-      ^^  * 
possible  to  move  it  further.     Moreover,  were  even 
the    trench    surmounted,   the    heaped-up   mound 
beyond  would  have  been  an  insuperable  difficulty. 
As  the  day  wore  on,  the  weary  barbarians,  fearing 
lest  the  tower  should  be  set  on  fire  in  a  nocturnal 
sally,  prepared  to   draw   their  ineffectual  engine 
back  into  their  own  lines.     John  saw  the  move- 
ment, and  longed  to  prevent  it.     He  addressed  his 
soldiers  in  kindling  words,  in  which,  while  com- 
plaining of  his  desertion  by  Belisarius,  he  urged 
upon  his  men  the  thought  that  their  only  chance 
of  seeing  again  the  dear  ones  whom  they  had  left 
behind,  lay  in  their  own  prowess,  in  that  supreme 
crisis  of  their  fate  when  life  and  death  hung  upon 
a  razor's  edge^     He  then  led  nearly  his  whole 
army  forth  to  battle,  leaving  only  a  few  men  to 
guard  the   ramparts.      The  Goths   resisted  stub- 
bornly, and,  when  evening  closed  in,  succeeded  in 
drawing  back  the  tower ;  but  the  contest  had  been 
so  bloody,   and  they  had  lost  in  it  so  many  of 
their  heroes,  that  they  determined  to  try  no  more 
assaults,   but   to   wait   and   see   what  their  ally, 
Hunger,  whose  hand  was  already  making  itself  felt 
upon  the  besieged,  would  do  towards  opening  the 
gates  of  Eimini  2. 

^  Oiff  TO.  Trpdyfxara  eVt  ^vpov  aKfiijs  ^o-rrep  rjpiv  ravvv  luTavrai. 
A  Homeric  simile  borrowed  by  Procopius. 

2  Soon  after  these  events  Procopius  puts  *  the  end  of  winter 
and  of  the  third  year  of  the  war'  (May-June,  538), 

VOL.  IV.  X 

306  The  Relief  of  Rimini, 

BOOK  V.      Not  long  after   the   successful   repulse   of  the 

■  ^^'  ^^'    Gothic  attack  on  this  Umbrian  sea-port,  her  rival 

^,  ^^^'      the  sea-port  of  Picenum,  Ancona,  all  but  fell  a  prey 

Narrow  ■»•  ^  \.       J 

escape  of    to  a  similar  assault.     Witis^is  had  sent  a  g^eneral 

the  garri-  ^  *-^^  *-' 

son  of  An-  named  Wakim  to  Osimo  with  orders  to  lead  the 


troops  assembled  in  that  stronghold  to  the  siege  of 
the  neighbouring  Ancona.  The  fortress  of  this  city- 
was  very  strong,  situated  probably  on  the  high 
hill  where  the  cathedral  now  stands  ^  looking  down 
on  the  magnificent  harbour.  But  if  th^e  Eoman 
castellum  was  strong,  the  town  below  it  was  weak 
Errors  of  and  difficult  to  defend.  Conon,  one  of  the  generals 
command-  of  Isauriaus  recently  despatched  from  Constanti- 
coua.  nople,  either  from  a  tender-hearted  desire  to  pro- 
tect the  peaceful  citizens,  or  from  a  wish  to 
distinguish  himself  by  performing  that  which 
seemed  impossible,  included  not  the  fortress  only 
but  the  city  in  his  line  of  defence,  and  drew  up 
his  forces  on  the  plain  about  half-a-mile  inland 
from  the  city.  Here  he  professed  to  entrench  him- 
self, but  his  trench,  says  Procopius  contemptuously, 
winding  all  round  the  foot  of  the  mountain,  might 
have  been  of  some  service  in  a  chase  after  game, 
but  was  quite  useless  for  war.  The  defenders  of 
this  line  soon  found  themselves  hopelessly  out- 
numbered by  the  Goths.  They  turned  and  fled 
towards  the  castle.  The  first  comers  were  received 
without  difficulty,  but  when  the  pursuing  Goths 
began    to    be    mingled    with    the    pursued,    the 

^  Not  actually  on  the  same  spot  as  the  cathedral,  as  it  is 
generally  thought  that  this  replaces  the  Temple  of  Yenus. 

Siege  of  Ancona,  307 

defenders  wisely  closed   the  gates.     Conon  him-  book  v. 
self  was  among   those  who  were  thus  shut  out, 

and  who  had  to  be  ignominiously  hauled  up  by  ^^  * 
ropes  let  down  from  the  battlements.  The  bar- 
barians applied  scaling  ladders  to  the  walls,  and 
all  but  succeeded  in  surmounting  them.  They 
probably  would  have  succeeded  altogether  but 
for  the  efforts  of  two  brave  men,  Ulimun  the 
Thracian  and  Bulgundus  the  Hun,  the  former  in 
the  body-guard  of  Belisarius,  the  latter  in  that  of 
Valerian,  who  by  mere  chance  happened  to  have 
recently  landed  at  Ancona.  These  men  kept  the 
enemy  at  bay  with  their  swords  till  the  garrison 
had  all  re-entered  the  fort.  Then  they  too, 
with  their  bodies  hacked  all  over,  and  half-dead 
from  their  wounds,  turned  back  from  the  field 
of  fight. 

Procopius  does  not  say  what  became  of  the  city 
of  Ancona,  but  it  was  probably  sacked  by  the 

We  hear  but  little  of  the  doings  of  Belisarius  Surrender 
while  these  events  were  passing  i.  His  scheme  Tuder  and 
for  gradually  and  cautiously  reducing  the  district 
which  lay  nearest  to  Rome,  before  advancing  north- 
wards, was  rewarded  by  the  surrender  of  Tuder 
and  Clusium.  The  four  hundred  Goths  who  occu- 
pied the  former  place  and  the  thousand  Goths  in 
the  latter  surrendered  at  the  mere  rumour  that 
his  army  was  approaching,  and  having  received  a 

^  Possibly  Procopius  was  himself  shut  up  in  Rimini  at  this  time, 
but  quitted  it  and  joined  Belisarius  before  the  siege  was  raised. 

X  2 

308  The  Relief  of  Rimim, 

BOOKV.  promise  that  their  lives   should  be  spared,  were 
^^'  ^^'    sent  away  unharmed  to  Sicily  and  Naples. 
^^^'  But  now  the  arrival  of  fresh  and  large  reinforce- 

forcements  mouts  from  Constantinople  in  Picenum^  drew  Beli- 
stantino-  sarius,  almost  in  spite  of  himself,  to  the  regions  of 
^  ^'  the  Hadriatic,  and  forced  him  to  reconsider  the  de- 

cision which  he  had  formed,  to  leave  the  mutinous 
general  at  Eimini  to  his  fate. 
Narsesthe      At  the  head  of  this  new  army^  sent  forth  from 

Eunuch.  ,  *^ 

Constantinople  was  the  Eunuch  Narses,  a  man 
destined  to  exert  a  more  potent  influence  on  the 
future  fortunes  of  Italy  than  even  Belisarius  him- 
self. He  was  born  in  Persarmenia — that  portion 
of  Armenia  which  was  allotted  to  Persia  at  the 
partition  of  384 — and  the  year  of  his  birth  was 
probably  about  478.  As  the  practice  of  rearing 
boys  for  service  as  eunuchs  in  the  Eastern  Courts 
had  by  this  time  become  common,  it  is  quite 
possible  that  he  was  not  of  servile  origin.  But 
whatever  his  birth  and  original  condition  may 
have  been,  we  find  him  in  middle  life  occupying 
a  high  place  in  the  Byzantine  Court.  After  filling 
the  post  of  Chartularius  ^  or  Keeper  of  the  Archives 

^  Probably  at  Ancona,  where  they  may  have  rescued  the 
city  from  the  troops  of  Waldm,  but  we  are  not  expressly  told 
this  by  Procopius. 

^  The  number  of  these  reinforcements  is  not  very  clearly 
stated  by  Procopius,  but  it  seems  to  have  been  5000  men  of 
various  nationalities  beside  2000  of  the  barbarous  Heruli  (De 
Bello  Gotthico,  ii.  13 ;  p.  199). 

^  We  get  this  fact  from  Marcellinus  Comes  (s.a.  552) :  '  Jus- 
tinianus  .  .  .  Narsem  eunuchum  Chartularium  et  Cubicularium 
suum   principem    militiae   fecit.'     For   the    Ghartularii   Sacri 

The  Etmuck  Narses,  309 

of  the  Imperial  Bed-chamber,  an  office  which  he  book  v. 

shared  with  two  colleagues   and  which  gave  him  \ !^ 

the  rank  of  a  S^pectahilis,  he  rose  (some  time  ^^  * 
before  the  year  530)  to  the  splendid  position 
of  Prae^ositus  Sacri  Cuhiculi,  or  Grand  Chamber- 
lain. He  thus  became  an  Ulustris,  and  one  of  the 
greatest  of  the  Illustres,  standing  in  the  same 
front  rank  with  the  Praetorian  Prefects  and  the 
Masters  of  the  Soldiery,  and  probably,  in  practice, 
more  powerful  than  any  of  those  ministers,  as 
having  more  continual  and  confidential  access  to 
the  person  of  the  sovereign  \ 

It  has  been  already  stated  that  in  the  terrible  Services  at 
days  of  the  insurrection  of  the  NiKA  the  Eunuch  riot, 
Chamberlain    rendered    essential    service    to    his  ^^^* 
master.      While   the   newly   proclaimed  Emperor 
Hypatius  was  sitting  in  the  Circus  receiving  the 
congratulations   of    his   friends   and   listening   to 
their   invectives    against   Justinian,  Narses  crept 
forth  into   the   streets   with  a   bag   in  his   hand 
filled  from  the  Imperial  treasury,  met  with  some 
of  the  leaders  of  the  Blue  faction,  reminded  them 
of    old   benefits    of   Justinian's,    of    old  grudges 
against    the    Greens,    judiciously    expended    the 
treasures   in   his   bag,  and    finally    succeeded    in 
persuading  them  to  shout  *Justiniane  Imperator 
Tu   vincas.'      The   coalition   of  the   two   factions 

Cuhiculi  Tres,  see  Bocking's  Notitia  Imperii  (Orientis,  233  ; 
Occidentis,  293),  and  the  passages  there  quoted  from  the  Codes 
of  Theodosius  and  Justinian. 

^  See  vol.  i.  pp.  221-2  for  a  sketch  of  the  office  of  the  Prae- 
positus  Sacri  Cubiculi. 


310  The  Relief  of  Rimini, 

BOOKV.  was  dissolved  and  the  throne  of  the  Emperor  was 
^"-  ^'-    saved. 

^2^'  This  then  was  the  man,  hitherto  versed  only  in 

the  Em-  the  intrigues  of  the  cabinet,  or  at  best  in  the  dis- 
SLg"^  cussions  of  the  cabinet,  whom  Justinian  placed  at 
theleat  of  the  head  of  the  new  army  which  was  sent  to  Italy 
to  secure  the  conquests  of  Belisarius.  What  was 
the  Emperor's  motive  in  sending  so  trusty  a  coun- 
sellor but  so  inexperienced  a  soldier,  a  man  too 
who  had  probably  reached  the  sixth  decade  of  his 
life,  on  such  a  martial  mission  %  The  motive,  as 
we  shall  see,  was  not  stated  in  express  terms  to  the 
Eunuch  :  perhaps  it  was  not  fully  confessed  by  the 
Emperor  even  to  himself  But  there  can  be  little 
doubt  that  there  was  growing  up  in  the  Imperial 
mind  a  feeling  that  the  splendid  victories  of  Beli- 
sarius might  make  of  him  a  dangerous  rival  for 
the  Empire,  and  that  it  was  desirable  to  have  him 
closely  watched,  but  not  seriously  hampered,  by  a 
devoted  partisan  of  the  dynasty,  a  man  who  from 
his  age  and  condition  could  never  himself  aspire 
to  the  purple.  Like  an  Aulic  counsellor  in  the 
camp  of  Wallenstein,  like  the  Commissioners  of  the 
Convention  in  the  camp  of  Dumouriez,  was  Narses 
in  the  praetorium  of  Belisarius. 
Council  of  A  great  council  of  war  was  held  at  Firmum 
Fermo.  (uow  Fcrmo),  a  town  of  Picenum  about  forty 
miles  south  of  Ancona  and  six  miles  inland  from 
the  Hadriatic.  There  were  present  at  it  not  only 
the  two  chiefs  Belisarius  and  Narses,  but  Martin 
and  Ildiger,  Justin  the  Master  of  the  Soldiery  for 

Council  of  War,  sii 

Illyricum,  another  Narses  with  his  brother  Aratius  book  v. 
(Persarmenians  like  the  Eunuch  Narses ^  who  had  — \ — L 
deserted  the  service  of  Persia  for  that  of  Byzan-  ^^  ' 
tium),  and  some  wild  Herulian  chieftains  named 
Wisand,  Alueth,  and  Fanotheus^.  The  one  great 
subject  of  discussion  was,  of  course,  whether 
Kimini  should  be  relieved  or  left  to  its  fate.  To 
march  so  far  northwards,  leaving  the  strong  posi- 
tion of  Osimo  untaken  in  their  rear,  seemed  like 
courting  destruction  for  the  whole  army.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  distress  of  the  defenders  of 
Eimini  for  want  of  provisions  was  growing  so 
severe  that  any  day  some  terrible  tidings  might 
be  expected  concerning  them.  The  opinion  of  the 
majority  of  the  officers  was  bitterly  hostile  to  John. 
*  By  his  rashness,  his  vanity,  his  avaricious  thirst 
for  plunder,  he  had  brought  a  Eoman  army  into 
this  extremity  of  danger.  He  had  disobeyed 
orders,  and  not  allowed  the  commander-in-chief  to 
conduct  the  campaign  according  to  his  own  ideas 
of  strategy.'  They  did  not  say  *  Let  him  suffer 
the  penalty  of  his  folly/  but  the  conclusion  to  be 
drawn  was  obvious. 

When  the  younger  men  had  blurted  out  their  Advice  of 
invectives   against   the   unfortunate   general,    the  favour  of 

*  Narses'  reception  of  these  countrymen  of  his  into  the  Im- 
perial service  is  the  first  event  of  his  career  that  is  recorded 
(Proc.  DeBell.  Pers.  i.  12). 

^  Procopius  here  interposes  a  long  but  interesting  digression 
on  the  Heruli,  whose  savage  habits  and  inconstant  temper  seem 
to  have  filled  him  with  loathing  and  yet  to  have  fascinated 
his  gaze. 

312  The  Relief  of  Rimini, 

BOOKV.  grey-headed   Narses   arose.      Admitting   his   own 

_!!:^  inexperience  in  the  art  of  war,  he  urged  that  in 

,.^^^'      the   extraordinary   circumstances   in   which   they 

relieving  *'  •/ 

Rimini,  ^ere  placed,  even  an  amateur  soldier  might  be 
listened  to  with  advantage.  The  question  pre- 
sented itself  to  his  mind  in  this  way.  Were  the 
evil  results  which  might  follow  from  one  or  other 
of  the  two  courses  proposed,  of  equal  magnitude  % 
If  Osimo  were  left  untaken,  if  the  garrison  of 
Osimo  were  allowed  to  recruit  itself  from  without, 
still  the  enterprise  on  that  fortress  might  be 
resumed  at  some  future  time,  and  probably  with 
success.  But  if  Eimini  were  allowed  to  surrender,  if 
a  city  recovered  for  the  Emperor  were  suffered  to 
be  retaken  by  the  barbarians,  if  a  gallant  general,  a 
brave  army  were  permitted  to  fall  into  their  cruel 
hands,  what  remedy  could  be  imagined  for  these 
reverses  %  The  Goths  were  still  far  more  numerous 
than  the  soldiers  of  the  Emperor,  but  it  was  the 
consciousness  of  uniform  disaster  which  cowed 
their  spirits  and  prepared  them  for  defeat.  Let 
them  gain  one  such  advantage  as  this,  so  signal, 
so  manifest  to  all  Italy,  they  would  derive  new 
courage  from  their  success,  and  twice  the  present 
number  of  Imperial  soldiers  could  not  beat  them. 
*  Therefore,'  concluded  Narses,  *  if  John  has  treated 
your  orders  with  contempt,  most  excellent  Beli- 
sarius,  take  your  own  measures  for  punishing  him, 
since  there  is  nothing  to  prevent  your  throwing 
him  over  the  walls  to  the  enemy  when  once  you 
have  relieved  Eimini.     But  see  that  you  do  not. 


A  Letter  from  John.  "313 

in  punishing  what  I  firmly  believe  to  have  been  book  v 
the  involuntary  error  of  John,  take  vengeance  on 
us  and  on  all  loyal  subjects  of  the  Emperor.' 

This  speech,  uttered  by  the  most  trusted  coun-  Letter  re- 
sellor  of  Justinian,  and  coming  from  one  who  John. 
loved  the  besieged  general  with  strong  personal 
affection,  produced  a  great  effect  upon  the  council; 
an  effect  which  was  increased  by  the  reading  of 
the  following  letter,  which,  just  at  the  right 
moment  of  time,  was  brought  by  a  soldier  who 
had  escaped  from  the  besieged  town  and  passed 
unnoticed  through  the  ranks  of  the  enemy. 

*  John  to  the  Illustrious  Belisarius,  Master  of  the 
Soldiery  \ 

'  Know  that  all  our  provisions  have  now  long 
ago  been  exhausted,  and  that  henceforward  we  are 
no  longer  strong  enough  to  defend  ourselves  from 
the  besiegers,  nor  to  resist  the  citizens  should  they 
insist  on  a  surrender.  In  seven  days  therefore, 
much  against  our  will,  we  shall  have  to  give  up 
this  city  and  ourselves  to  the  enemy,  for  we  can- 
not longer  avert  the  impending  doom.  I  think 
you  wiU  hold  that  our  act,  though  it  will  tarnish 
the  lustre  of  your  arms,  is  excused  by  absolute 

In  sore  perplexity,  Belisarius,  yielding   to  the  Scheme  for 
wishes  of  the  council  of  war,  devised  the  following  of  Rimini, 
almost  desperate  scheme  for  the  relief  of  Eimini. 
To  keep  in  check  the  garrison  of  Osimo  a  detach- 
ment of   looo  men  were  directed  to  encamp  on 
^  The  superscription  of  the  letter  is  conjectural. 


314   '  The  Relief  of  Rimini. 

BOOKV.  the  sea-coast,  about  thirty  miles  ^  from  the  Gothic 
^^  stronghold,  with  orders  vigilantly  to  watch  its  de- 
^2^-  fenders,  but  on  no  account  to  attack  them.  The 
largest  part  of  the  army  was  put  on  ship-board, 
and  the  fleet,  under  the  command  of  Ildiger^,  was 
ordered  to  cruise  slowly  towards  .Eimini,  not  out- 
stripping the  troops  which  were  to  march  by 
land,  and  when  arrived,  to  anchor  in  front  of  the 
besieged  city.  Martin,  with  another  division,  was 
to  march  along  the  great  highway,  close  to  the 
March  of  coast,  through  Ancona,  Fano,  and  Pesaro.  Beli- 
across  the  sarius  himsclf  and  the  Eunuch  Narses  led  a  flying 
column,  which  was  intended  to  relieve  Eimini  by 
a  desperate  expedient  if  all  the  more  obvious 
methods  should  fail.  Marching  westwards  from 
Fermo  they  passed  through  Urbs  Salvia,  once  an 
important  city,  but  so  ruined  by  an  onslaught  of 
Alaric  that  when  Procopius  passed  through  it  he 
saw  but  a  single  gateway  and  the  remains  of  a 
tesselated  pavement,  attesting  its  former  greatness^. 
From  thence  they  struck  into  the  heart  of  the 
Apennines,  and  in  the  high  region  near  Nocera 
descried  the  great  Flaminian  Way  coming  north- 
wards from    Spoleto*.     Keeping  upon  this  great 

^  ndXecos-  Av^ljjLov  (TTadiovs  diaKoaiovf  anexov.  The  distance 
seems  too  great. 

^  Subordinate  officers,  Herodian,  Uliares,  and  Narses  the 
Less  (brother  of  Aratius). 

^  Urbs  Salvia  is  represented  by  the  modern  village  of 
Urbesaglia,  near  Macerata.  It  seems  that  the  scanty  Roman 
remains  mentioned  by  Procopius  have  since  disappeared. 

*  In  strictness  they  had  joined  it  at  an  earlier  point :  for  the 
old  Via  Flaminia  went  from  Nuceria  through  Septempeda  to 

Mountain  march  of  Belisarius,  315 

highway  they  recrossed  the  Apennine  chain,  but  book  v. 

before  they  were  clear  from  the  intricacies  of  the L 

mountains,  and  when  they  were  at  the  distance  of  ^^J^^^^^^^ 
a  day's  iourney  from  Rimini  ^  they  fell  in  with  a  ^^^5^"^^^'' 

J       o  J  ^  J  with  some 

party  of  Goths  who  were  casually  passing  thatc^^^^^- 
way,  possibly  marching  between  the  two  Gothic 
strongholds  of  Osimo  and  Urbino.  So  little  were 
the  barbarians  thinking  of  war  that  the  wounds 
received  from  the  arrows  of  the  Romans  were  the 
first  indications  of  their  presence.  They  sought 
cover  behind  the  rocks  of  the  mountain -pass,  and 
some  thus  escaped  death.  Peeping  forth  from 
their  hiding-places,  they  perceived  the  standards 
of  Belisarius ;  they  saw  an  apparently  countless 
multitude  streaming  over  the  mountains — for  the 
army  was  marching  in  loose  order  by  many  moun- 
tain pathways,  not  in  column  along  the  one  high 
road — and  they  fled  in  terror  to  the  camp  of 
Witigis,  to  show  their  wounds,  to  tell  of  the 
standards  of  Belisarius  and  to  spread  panic  by 
the  tidings  that  the  great  general  was  on  his 
march  to  encompass  them.  In  fact,  the  troops  Terror  in 
of  Belisarius,  who  bivouacked  for  the  night  on  the  of  witigis. 
scene  of  this  little  skirmish,  did  not  reach  Rimini 
till  all  the  fighting  was  over;  but  its  Gothic  be- 
siegers expected  every  moment  to  see  him  emerge 
from  the  mountains,  march  towards  them  from 
the  north,  and  cut  off  their  retreat  to  Ravenna. 

Ancona  :  but  I  adopt  the  later  usage  and  keep  the  name  for  the 
main  track  leading  northwards  through  Petra  Pertusa  to  Fanum. 
\  One  may  conjecture,  not  far  from  Fossombrone. 

316  The  Relief  of  Rimini, 

BOOKv.      While  the  Goths  were  thus  anxiously  looking 

^^'^^'    towards  the  north,  suddenly  upon  the  south,  be- 

,   ^^^*      tween  them  and  Pesaro,  blazed  the  watch-fires  of 

ance of  the  an  enormous    army.      These    were    the    troops    of 

army  of  ^  -*- 

Martin,  Martin,  who  had  been  ordered  by  Belisarius  to 
adopt  this  familiar  stratagem,  to  make  his  line 
appear  in  the  night-time  larger  than  it  actually 
and  of  the  was.  Then,  to  complete  the  discouragement  of 
the  Goths,  the  Imperial  war-ships,  which  indeed 
bore  a  formidable  army,  appeared  in  the  twilight 
in  the  harbour  of  Eimini.  Fancying  themselves 
on  the  point  of  being  surrounded,  the  soldiers  of 
Witigis  left  their  camp,  filled  as  it  was  with  the 
trappings  of  their  barbaric  splendour,  and  fled  in 
headlong  haste  to  Eavenna.  Had  there  been  any 
strength  or  spirit  left  in  the  Eoman  garrison, 
they  might,  by  one  timely  sally,  have  well-nigh 
destroyed  the  Gothic  army  and  ended  the  war 
upon  the  spot ;  but  hunger  and  misery  had  re- 
duced them  too  low  for  this.  They  had  enough 
life  left  in  them  to  be  rescued,  and  that  was  all. 
Successive  Of  the  relieving  army,  Ildiger  and  his  division 
of  the  re-  wcro  the  first  to  appear  upon  the  scene.  They 
columns,  sacked  the  camp  of  the  Goths  and  made  slaves  of 
the  sick  barbarians  whom  they  found  there.  Then 
came  Martin  and  his  division  ^  Last  of  all,  about 
noon  of  the  following  day,  Belisarius  and  the 
Eunuch  appeared  upon  the  scene.  When  they 
saw  the   pale   faces   and  emaciated  forms  of  the 

^  Procopius  does  not  say  this,  but  we  may  fairly  conjec- 
ture it. 

John  and  his  Army  delivered,  317 

squalid  defenders  of  Eimini,  Belisarius,  who  was  book  v. 
still   thinking    of    the    original    disobedience    to 

orders  which  had  brought  about  all   this  suffer-      ^^  * 
ing,  could  not  suppress  the  somewhat  ungenerous 
taunt,  *  Oh,  Joannes  !  you  will  not  find  it  easy  to 
pay   your   debt   of  gratitude   to   Ildiger  for  this 
deliverance.'    *  No  thanks  at  all  do  I  owe  to  Ildi-  John  at- 
ger,  but  all  to  Narses  the  Emperor's  Chamberlain,'  deliverance 
answered  John,  who  either  knew  or  conjectured 
what  had  passed  in  the  council  of  war  at  Fermo 
regarding  his  deliverance. 

Thus  were  sown  the  seeds  of  a  dissension  which 
wrought  much  harm,  and  might  conceivably  have 
wrought  much  more,  to  the  affairs  of  the  Emperor. 

NOTE  B.    On  the  March  of  Belisahius. 

NOTE  B.  I  HAVE  endeavoured  to  construct  the  most  probable 
~Z  theory  that  I  could  out  of  the  not  very  intelligible  account 
given  by  Procopius  (who  himself  accompanied  the  General) 
concerning  Belisarius's  march  to  Rimini.  That  he  struck 
inland  to  the  Apennines  and  that  he  passed  through  Urbs 
Salvia  is  clear.  This  route  would  lead  him  to  the  Flami- 
nian  Way,  and  I  cannot  think  that,  having  gained  it, 
the  road  being  now  clear  of  the  obstruction  at  Petra  Per- 
tusa,  and  time  being  of  such  vast  importance  to  him,  he 
would  again  depart  from  it,  or  continue  among  the  Apen- 
nines longer  than  was  absolutely  needful.  But  if  so,  his 
route  would,  from  Fanum  onwards,  coincide  with  that  of 
Martin,  and  it  must  be  admitted  that  the  language  of 
Procopius,  without  precisely  denying  this,  does  not  easily 
harmonise  with  it.  Other  weak  points  of  my  theory  are, 
that  the  Goths  expected  Belisarius  from  the  norths  and 
that  the  soldiers  were  scattered  all  over  the  rocky  paths  ^, 
which  does  not  exactly  correspond  with  the  notion  of 
an  orderly  march  along  the  Via  Flaminia.  Those  who 
consider  these  difficulties  insurmountable  may  suppose 
Belisarius  to  have  crossed  the  Flaminian  Way,  entered 
Tuscany,  marched  by  Perugia  and  Arezzo,  traversed  the 
Apennines  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Vallombrosa  and  de- 
scended the  valley  of  the  Marecchia  or  one  of  the  parallel 
streams.  But  they  will  have  to  face  the  difficulty  of  the 
loss  of  time  involved  in  so  circuitous  a  route,  and  they 
must  also  remember  that  both  Cesena  and  Mons  Feletris 
were  garrisoned  by  Goths. 

^  'Es  irdcas  dvax^pias  ^vppiovras. 




Source : — 
Procopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  ii.  it,  and  18-22  (pp.  195,  BOOK  v. 
,17-235).  ^"-^^^ 

The  relief  of  Eimini  ^rreatly  stren2:thened  the  The  party 

^      ,       '^  ^  .       ofNarses 

party  of  Narses  at  the  council-table  of  the  Imperial  in  the 
generals.  It  was  indeed  the  arm  of  Belisarius 
that  had  wrought  that  great  achievement,  but  the 
directing  brain,  as  John  asserted,  and  as  most  men 
in  the  army  believed,  was  the  brain  of  the  Imperial 
Chamberlain.  Accordingly  friends  and  flatterers 
of  this  successful  amateur  general  gathered  round 
him  in  large  numbers,  with  their  unwise  yet  only 
too  gratifying  suggestions.  '  It  was  surely,'  they 
said,  *  beneath  his  dignity  to  allow  himself  to  be 
dragged  about,  as  a  mere  subordinate  officer,  in 
the  train  of  Belisarius.  When  the  Emperor  sent 
a  minister  of  such  high  rank,  the  sharer  of  his 
most  secret  counsels,  into  the  field,  he  must  have 
intended  him  to  hold  a  separate  command,  to  win 
glory  for  himself  by  his  great  actions,  and  not 
merely  to  help  in  gathering  fresh  laurels  for  the  brow 
of  the  already  too  powerful  Master  of  the  Soldiery. 

320        Dissensions  in  the  Imperial  Camp. 

BOOK  V.  The  suggestion  that  he  should  himself  be  general- 
'        in-chief  over  a  separate  army  was  one  which  would 
^^^'      meet  with  ready  acceptance  from  the  bravest  of 
the  officers  and  the  best  part  of  the  troops.     All 
the  Herulian  auxiliaries,  all  his  own  body-guard, 
all  John's  soldiers   and   those  of  Justin,  all  the 
men   who    followed   the    standards   of  the    other 
Narses  and  his   brother  Aratius,  a  gallant   host 
amounting  in  all  to  fully  10,000  men,  would  be 
proud  to  fight  under  the  deliverer  of  Kimini,  and 
to  vindicate  for  Narses  at  least  an  equal  share  with 
Belisarius  in   the  glory  of  the  recovery  of  Italy. 
An  equal,  or  even  henceforward  a  greater  share ; 
for  the  army  of  Belisarius  was  so  weakened  by  the 
detachment  of  soldiers  doing  garrison-duty  in  all 
the  towns  from  Sicily  to'Picenum,  that  he  would 
have  to  follow  rather  than  to  lead  in  the  opera- 
tions  which    were    yet    necessary   to    finish   the 
Belisarius       Thcse  lusidious  couusels,  urged  at  every  possible 
a  council    Opportunity,  bore  their  expected  fruit  in  the  mind 
of  the  Eunuch,  elated   as   he   was   by  his  great 
success  in  the  affair  of  Rimini.     Order  after  order 
which    he  received   from   Belisarius   was    quietly 
disregarded,  as  not  suited  to  the  present  posture 
of  affairs  ;    and   the  General   was   made   to  feel, 
without  the  possibility  of  mistake,  that,  though  he 
might  advise,  he  must  not  presume  to  command,  so 
great  a  personage  as  the  Prae^ositus  of  the  Sacred 
Bed-chamber.     When  Belisarius  understood  that 
this  was  really  the  position  taken  up  by  Narses  he 

speech  of  Belisarius  to  the  Generals.      321 
summoned  all  the  generals  to  a  council  of  war.  bookv 

Ch.  11. 


Without  directly  complaining  of  the  spirit  of  in- 
subordination which  he  saw  creeping  in  among  jj^g^/ gg^jj^ 
them,  he  told  them  that  he  saw  their  views  did 
not  coincide  with  his  as  to  the  present  crisis.  The 
enemy,  in  his  view,  were  still  essentially  stronger 
than  their  own  forces.  By  dexterity  and  good- 
luck  the  Goths  had  hitherto  been  successfully  out- 
generalled ;  but,  let  them  only  redeem  their  for- 
tunes by  one  happy  stroke,  the  opportunity  for 
which  might  be  offered  them  by  the  over-confidence 
of  the  Imperial  officers,  and,  passing  from  despair 
to  the  enthusiasm  of  success,  they  would  become 
dangerous,  perhaps  irresistible.  To  the  mind  of 
Belisarius  the  present  aspect  of  the  theatre  of  war 
brought  grave  anxiety.  With  Witigis  and  thirty 
or  forty  thousand  ^  Goths  at  Bavenna,  with  his 
nephew  besieging  Milan  ^  and  dominating  Liguria, 
with  Osimo  held  by  a  numerous  and  gallant  Gothic 
garrison,  with  even  Orvieto,  so  near  to  Bome,  still  in 
the  possession  of  the  enemy,  and  with  the  Franks,  of 
old  so  formidable  to  the  Komans,  hanging  like  a 
thunder-cloud  upon  the  Alps,  ready  at  any  moment 
to  sweep  down  on  Upper  Italy,  there  was  danger 
that  the  Imperial  army  might  soon  find  itself 
surrounded  by  foes.  He  proposed  therefore  that 
the  host  should  part  itself  into  two  and  only  two 
strong  divisions,  that  the  one  should  march  into 

*   Tor^a)!/  /xuptaSe?  TroXXat. 

2  The  history  of  this  siege  will  be  related  consecutively  a 
few  pages  further  on. 

VOL.  IV.  y 

322        Dissensions  in  the  Imperial  Camp, 

BOOKV.  Liguria  for  the  relief  of  Milan,  and  the  other  should 
.  undertake    the    reduction    of    Osimo     and    such 

^^^*  other  exploits  in  Umbria  and  Picenum  as  they 
might  find  themselves  capable  of  performing.  We 
are  led  to  infer,  though  the  fact  is  not  expressly 
stated,  that  Belisarius  offered  to  Narses  and  the 
generals  of  his  faction  the  choice  of  undertaking 
independently  either  of  these  alternative  opera- 
Reply  of        When  the  speech  of  Belisarius  was  ended,  Narses 

Narses.  ,  ^ 

said  curtly,  and  with  little  deference  to  the 
General's  authority, '  What  you  have  laid  before  us 
is  doubtless  true  as  far  as  it  goes.  But  I  hold 
that  it  is  quite  absurd  to  say  that  this  great  army 
is  equal  only  to  the  accomplishment  of  these  two 
objects,  the  relief  of  Milan  and  the  reduction  of 
Osimo.  While  you  are  leading  such  of  the  Komans 
as  you  think  fit  to  those  cities,  I  and  my  friends 
will  proceed  to  recover  for  the  Emperor  the  pro- 
vince of  Aemilia  [in  other  words,  the  southern  bank 
of  the  Po  from  Piacenza  to  the  Hadriatic].  This 
is  a  province  which  the  Goths  are  said  especially 
to  prize.  We  shall  thus  so  terrify  them  that  they 
will  not  dare  to  issue  forth  from  Eavenna  and 
cut  off  your  supplies,  an  operation  which  they  are 
sure  to  undertake  if  we  all  march  off  together  to 
besiege  Osimo.' 
Belisarius       go  spakc  Narses,  and  thus  forced  Belisarius  to 

reads  a 

letter  from  fall  back  ou  his  Imperial  commission,  which  gave 

peror.        him  the  supreme  and  ultimate  responsibility  for 

the  movements  of  the  whole  army  of  Italy.     That 

TenoiLT  of  Narses   commission.  323 

this  authority  was  not  impaired  by  recent  changes  book  v. 
was    proved    by    a    letter     from    the    Emperor,  — 1__1 
which  he  read  to  the  council,  and  which  ran  as      ^^^' 
follows  : — 

*We  have  not  sent  our  chamberlain  Narses  to 
Italy  to  take  the  command  of  the  army.  For  we 
wish  Beli sarins  alone  to  lead  the  whole  army, 
whithersoever  it  may  seem  best  to  him ;  and  it 
behoves  you  all  to  follow  him  in  whatsoever  makes 
for  the  good  of  our  Empire.' 

So  ran  the  letter  of  Justinian,  which  seemed  at  Singular 

r»  •     1  •      1  'IT*  p  XT  limiting 

first  sight  entirely  to  negative  the  claims  of  Narses  clause  in 
to  an  independent  command.  But,  as  the  Eunuch  ment. 
pointed  out,  a  singular  limitation  was  contained  in 
the  last  clause,  *  you  are  to  follow  him  in  whatso- 
ever makes  for  the  good  of  our  Empire.'  '  We  do 
not  think,*  said  Narses,  '  that  your  present  plan  of 
campaign  is  for  the  good  of  the  Empire,  and 
therefore  we  decline  to  follow  you.'  The  clause 
had  possibly  been  introduced  in  order  to  guard 
against  the  contingency  of  Belisarius  aspiring  to 
the  purple.  Or  perhaps,  now  as  in  the  case  of 
Odovacar's  embassy  to  Constantinople,  it  seemed 
to  the  guiding  spirits  in  the  Imperial  Chancery  a 
stroke  of  statesmanship  to  put  forth  an  ambiguous 
document  which  might  be  interpreted  by  each  side 
according  to  its  own  inclination.  The  Empire  by 
the  Bosporus  was  already  developing  those  qualities 
which  we,  perhaps  unfairly,  term  Oriental. 

For  the  moment  some  kind  of  compromise  seems  Temporary 
to  have  been  patched  up.     Peranius,  with  a  large  mSe^Ir- 

324        Dissensions  in  the  Imperial  Camp. 
BOOK  V.  army,  was  sent  to  besiege  Orvieto,  which,  from  its 

Ch.  11 

nearness  to  Eome,  was  admitted  by  all  to  be  a  point 
^^  '  of  danger.  Belisarius,  with  the  rest  of  the  army, 
moved  off  to  attack  Urbino,  which  was  a  day's 
journey  to  the  south  of  Rimini.  N arses  and  John, 
and  the  other  generals  of  that  party,  followed  or 
accompanied  Belisarius  ;  but  when  they  came  in 
sight  of  the  city,  the  disaffected  generals  encamped 
on  the  west,  leaving  Belisarius  and  his  adherents 
to  sit  down  on  the  eastern  side. 
Siege  of  Urbiuo,  the  '  Athens  of  Italy/  as  she  was  called 

Urbino         .  . 

begun.  in  the  short  but  glorious  summer  of  her  fame, 
acquired  imperishable  renown  under  the  rule  of 
the  princes  of  the  house  of  Montefeltro  ^  in  the 
fifteenth  century.  The  influence  exerted  on  Italian 
Literature  by  the  fostering  care  of  these  princes 
is  known  to  all  scholars ;  but  in  the  history  of 
Painting  the  name  of  their  little  capital  is  of 
mightier  meaning,  since  the  utmost  ends  of  the 
earth  have  heard  the  fame  of  Raffaelle  of  Urbino. 
Now,  she  is  again  not  much  more  than  she  was 
in  the  days  of  Belisarius,  a  little  bleak  fortress 
looking  forth  upon  the  bare  horizon  of  TJmbrian 
hills,  herself  highest  of  them  all.  No  river  has 
she  of  her  own,  but  is  reached  by  a  steep  ascent  of 
five  miles  from  the  fair  valley  of  the  Metaurus. 

^  If,  as  seems  probable,  the  MovT€<pepeTpov  of  Procopius  (ii.  1 1) 
is  the  same  as  the  Montefeltro  of  the  Middle  Ages,  it  is  curious 
to  observe  that  these  two  strongholds,  the  chief  fortresses  of 
the  Goths  in  Northern  Umbria  in  the  sixth  century,  were  yet 
more  closely  associated  in  the  Middle  Ages  under  the  sway  of 
'  the  Counts  of  Montefeltro  and  Urbino.' 

Siege  of  U7'biiio.  325 

This  was  the  city  to  which,  in  the  autumn  of  538,  book  v. 

Belisarius  sent  ambassadors,  promising  all  kinds  of \ L 

favours  to  the  garrison  if  they  would  anticipate  ^^  ' 
their  inevitable  fate  by  a  speedy  surrender.  Strong 
in  their  belief  of  the  impregnability  of  their  fort- 
ress, in  the  good  store  of  provisions  which  they 
had  accumulated  within  its  walls,  and  in  the  pos- 
session of  an  excellent  spring  of  water,  the  gar- 
rison refused  to  surrender,  and  haughtily  bade  the 
ambassadors  to  depart  from  the  gates  imme- 

Seeing  that  Belisarius  was  bent  upon  reducing  Narses  and 
the  place,  by  a  tedious  blockade  if  that  were  need-  march 
ful,  Narses  and  John  decided  to  take  their  own  u^bmo.°"^ 
course.     John  had  slightly  attempted  Urbino  be- 
fore,  on   his   first  entry  into  Picenum,  and  had 
found  it  impregnable.     Since  then  a  much  larger 
garrison  and  stores  of  provisions  had  been  intro- 
duced.     Why  linger   any  longer  on  these   bleak 
highlands,  winter  now    approaching,  and  success 
well-nigh  impossible  \    They  broke  up  their  camp 
on  the  west  of  the  city,  and  marched  away,  intent 
upon  their  favourite  scheme  of  the  annexation  of 
the  Aemilia. 

The  garrison,  seeing  that  half  their  enemies  had  Operations 
marched  away,  flouted  and  jeered  those  who  re-  rius. 
mained.  The  city,  though  it  did  not  stand  on  a 
precipitous  cliff  like  others  of  these  Umbrian  fort- 
resses, was  nevertheless  at  the  top  of  an  exceed- 
ingly steep  hill ;  and  only  on  the  north  side  was 
the  approach  anything  like   level.     On  this   side 

326        Dissensions  in  the  Imperial  Camp, 

BOOKV.  Belisarius  proposed  to  make  his  attack.  He 
"•  ordered  his  soldiers  to  collect  a  quantity  of  trunks 
^^^*  and  boughs  of  trees>  and  out  of  these  to  construct 
a  machine  which  they  called  the  Porch  \  The 
trunks  being  fixed  upright,  and  the  boughs,  perhaps 
still  covered  with  leaves,  being  wattled  together 
to  form  the  sides,  the  machine,  worked  by  soldiers 
within,  was  to  be  moved  along  the  one  level 
approach  to  the  city,  and  the  soldiers  under  its 
shelter  were  to  begin  battering  at  the  wall.  But 
no  sooner  had  they  reached  the  vicinity  of  the 
fortress,  than,  instead  of  being  met  by  a  shower 
of  arrows,  they  saw  the  battlements  thronged 
with  Goths  stretching  out  their  right  hands  in 
the  attitude  of  suppliants  and  praying  for  mercy. 

Urbino      This  suddcu  change  in  the  attitude  of  the  garri- 


son,  lately  so  bent  on  resistance  to  the  death,  was 
caused  by  the  mysterious  failure  of  their  one 
hitherto  copious  spring.  It  had  for  three  days 
fallen  lower  and  lower,  and  now,  when  the  soldiers 
went  to  draw  water,  they  obtained  nothing  but 
liquid  mud.  Without  a  spring  of  water  defence 
was  impossible,  and  they  did  wisely  to  surrender. 
The  characteristic  good-fortune  of  Belisarius  had 
prevailed.  Urbino  was  his,  and  some  of  its  late 
defenders  appear  to  have  taken  service  in  the 
Imperial  army. 

The  news  of  the   speedy  surrender  of  Urbino 
brought  not  only  surprise  but  grief  to  the  heart 

*  (TToa.  But  is  it  not  the  same  which  Roman  military  writers 
call  vinea  % 

Surrender  of  Urbino.  327 

of  Narses,  who  was  still  quartered  at  Eimini.     He  book  v. 
ur^ed   John   to   undertake   the  reduction  of  the  — '. — L 
strong   city   of  Cesena,   twenty  miles   inland   on  (.^^g^^'^^_ 
the   iEmiUan   Way.     John   took  scaling   ladders,  j^^^yj^^^^ 
and  attempted  an  assault.    The'  garrison  resisted 
vigorously,  slaying  many  of  the  assailants,  among 
them  Fanotheus,  the  King  of  the   wild  Herulian 
auxiliaries  of  the  Empire.     John,  whose  temper 
was  impatient  of  the  slow  work  of  a  siege,  pro-  - 
nounced  this,  as  he  had  pronounced  so  many  other 
cities  under  whose  walls  he  had  stood,  impreg- 
nable, and  marched  off  for  the  easier  exploit  of 
overrunning  the  ^milian  province.     The  ancient  imoia 
city  of  Forum  Cornelii  (now  Imola)  was  carried  by  rj^e^gj^j. 
a  surprise,  and  the  whole  province  was  recovered  ru^^^^^" 
for  the  Emperor ;  an  easy  conquest,  but  probably 
not  one  of  great  strategic  value. 

The  winter  solstice  was  now  past,  and  the  new      539- 
year,  539,  begun.     The  heart  of  Belisarius  wasosimoto 
still  set  upon  what  he  knew  to  be  the  necessary  from 
task  of  the  capture  of  Osim.o  ;  but  he  would  not  in 
the  winter  season  expose  his  troops  to  the  hard- 
ships of  a  long  encampment  in  the  open  country 
while  he  was  blockading  the  city.     He  therefore 
sent  Aratius,  with  the  bulk  of  the  army,  into  winter 
quarters  at  Fermo,  with  orders  to  watch  the  garri- 
son of  Osimo  and  prevent  their  wandering  at  will 
over  Picenum :    and   he  himself  marched  with  a  Belisarius 
detachment  of  moderate  size  to  Orvieto,  which  had  Oryieto, 
been  for  many  months  besieged  by  Peranius,  and  renders, 
the  garrison  of  which  were  hard  pressed  by  famine. 

Ch.  11. 

328        Dissensions  in  the  ImpeiHal  Camp. 

BOOK  V,  Albilas  their  general  had  long  kept  up  their  spirits 
by  delusive  hopes  of  coming  reinforcements,  but 
they  were  already  reduced  to  feed  upon  hides 
steeped  in  water  to  soften  them :  and  when  they 
saw  the  standards  of  the  mighty  Belisarius  under 
their  walls,  they  soon  surrendered  at  discretion. 
It  was  well  for  the  Eoman  cause  that  the  blockade 
had  been  so  complete,  for,  to  an  assault,  the  rock- 
built  city  of  the  Clanis  would  have  been,  in  the 
judgment  of  Belisarius,  quite  inaccessible  ^ 

It  was  now  nine  months  since  the  raising  of  the 
siege  of  Eome.  The  progress  of  the  Imperial  arms 
since  that  time  had  not  been  rapid,  but  it  had  been 
steady.  Eimini  had  been  relieved,  Urbino  taken, 
the  Aemilia  re-annexed  to  the  Empire,  Orvieto,  that 

^iian    ,    dangerous    neio;hbour   to    Eome,   reduced.     Now, 

recovered  . 

by  the  however,  in  the  early  months  of  539,  the  Imperial 
troops  arms  sustained  a  terrible  reverse  in  the  reconquest 
raising  of    of  Milan  by  the  Goths.     To  understand  the  course 

the  siege  _  ^  .  i  •        t 

of  Eome,  01  oveuts  which  led  up  to  this  disaster,  we  must 
go  back  twelve  months,  to  the  early  part  of  538, 
shortly  after  the  conclusion  of  the  three  months' 
truce  between  Belisarius  and  Witigis.  The  reader 
may  remember  that  at  that  time  Datius,  the  Arch- 
bishop of  Milan,  made  his  appearance  in  Eome,  at 
the  head  of  a  deputation,  entreating  Belisarius  to 
send  troops  to  rescue  the  capital  of  Liguria  from 
the  barbarians.  The  General,  perhaps  unwisely, 
complied,  thus  in  appearance  committing  the 
same  faults,  of  advancing  too  far  and  extending 
^  See  Note  at  the  end  of  this  chapter. 

Affairs  in  Liguria.  329 

his  line  of  defence  too  widely,  which  he  had  book  v. 
blamed  in  the  case  of  his  subordinate  John,  when  . — '. — 1 
that  officer  occupied  Eimini.  After  the  siege  of 
Kome  was  raised  he  sent  one  thousand  troops  to 
escort  Datius  back  to  his  diocese.  The  little  army 
was  composed  of  Isaurians  under  Ennes,  and  Thra- 
cians  under  Paul  us.  Mundilas,  whose  Praetorium 
was  sentinelled  by  a  few  picked  soldiers  from 
Belisarius's  own  body-guard,  commanded  the  whole 
expedition,  which  w^as  also  accompanied  by  Fide- 
lius,  formerly  Quaestor  under  Athalaric,  now  Pras- 
torian  Prefect  of  Italy  under  Justinian,  and  the 
most  important  civil  functionary  in  the  restored 

The  expedition  sailed  from  Porto  to  Genoa.  April  (?), 
There  the  soldiers  left  the  ships,  but  took  the 
ships'  boats  with  them  on  waggons,  and  by  their 
means  crossed  the  river  Po  without  difficulty. 
Under  the  walls  of  Pavia  (Ticinum)  they  fought  Battle  of 
a  bloody  battle  with  the  Goths,  in  which  the  Im- 
perial arms  triumphed.  The  fugitive  barbarians 
were  only  just  able  to  close  the  gates  of  their  city 
in  time  to  prevent  it  from  being  taken  by  the 
conquerors.  It  would  have  been  an  important 
prize ;  for  Pavia,  even  more  perhaps  than  Ra- 
venna, was  the  treasury  and  arsenal  of  the  Gothic 
monarchy.  The  exultation  of  Mundilas  at  his 
victory  in  the  field  was  damped  by  the  disap- 
pointment of  not  occupying  Pavia,  and  yet  more 
by  the  death  of  the  Illustris,  Fidelius,  who  had 
tarried  behind  to  offer  his  devotions  in  a  church 

330        Dissensions  in  the  Imperial  Camp. 

BOOKV.  near   the  field  of  battle.      On  his  departure,  his 

^'        horse  fell  with  him  :  the  Goths  perceived  his  help- 

^^^'      less   condition,  and  sallying   forth   from  the  city 

slew  the   recreant   official,  whom  they   doubtless 

considered  a  traitor  to  the  house  of  Theodoric. 

Milan  and      When  the  expedition  arrived  at  Milan,  the  city, 

all  the  sur-  .        . 

rounding    thoroughly  Komau  m  its  sympathies,  surrendered 

towns  gar-    .n^in.  i«i  i  -r»  r^ 

risonedby  itscli  gladly  luto  their  hands.      Bergamo,  Como, 
troops.       Novara,  and  other   towns  in  the  neighbourhood, 
followed  the   example   of  the  capital,  and  were 
garrisoned  by  Koman  troops.     In  this  way  Mun- 
dilas   reduced   his    own   immediate    following   in 
Milan  to  three  hundred  men,  among  whom,  however, 
were  his  two  capable  officers,  Paulus  and  Ennes. 
TJraiasthe      On  hearing  of  the  defection  of  Milan,  Witigis 
to  besiege  dcspatchcd  a  large  army,  under  the  command  of 
his  nephew  Uraias,  for  its  recovery.     Uraias  was 
one  of  the  favourite  heroes  of  the  Gothic  nation, 
as  brave  and.  energetic   as   his   uncle   was   help- 
less and  timid.     He  was  not  the  only  enemy  by 
which    the    re-Romanised    city    was    threatened. 
TheFranks  Theudibort,    King   of  the    Franks,  intent,  as  his 

also  appear  ,  •  i  i         •    •  p 

upon  the  nation  used  ever  to  be,  on  turning  the  calamities  of 
Italy  to  profit,  but  not  wishing  at  present  openly 
to  quarrel  with  the  Emperor,  ordered,  or  permit- 
ted, ten  thousand  of  his  Burgundian  subjects  to 
cross  the  Alps  and  to  encamp  before  Milan,  hold- 
ing himself  ready  to  disavow  the  action  of  the 
invaders  should  it  suit  his  purpose  to  conciliate 
the  Court  of  Byzantium  \  By  these  two  armies,  the 
^  The  language  of  Procopius  is  curious,  as  showing  the  loose 


Milan  revolts  from  the  Goths.  331 

Frankish  and  the  Goihic,  Milan  was,  in  the  spring  book  v. 

Ch  11 

months  of  538,  so  closely  invested  that  it  was  im- 

possible to  carry  any  food  into  the  city.    The  little      ^^  ' 
band  of  three  hundred  Thracians  and  Isaurians 
being  quite  inadequate  to  guard  the  wide  circuit 
of   the   city-walls,    Mundilas   was   forced   to   call 
upon  the  citizens  themselves  to  man  the  ramparts. 

When  Belisarius  heard  that  TJraias  had  formed  Martin 

.  r»   Ti/rM  1  1       ivT         •      andUliaris 

the  siege  01  Milan,  he  sent  two  generals,  Martm  sent  to 
and  Uliaris,  with  a  large  army,  to  relieve  the  be-  Milan, 
leaguered  city.  Martin  had  shared  with  Ildiger 
the  perils  of  his  bold  dash  through  Umbria,  and 
Uliaris  had  taken,  apparently,  a  creditable  part 
in  the  expedition  for  the  relief  of  Kimini^;  but 
neither  officer  now  behaved  in  a  manner  worthy 
of  his  former  reputation.    When  they  reached  the  Message 

1^         T  T  .  Ill      from  Mun- 

river  Jro,  they  encamped  upon  its  southern  bank,  diiastothe 
and  there  remained  for  a  long  time  timidly  con-  g^ene"a^s. 
suiting  how  they  should  cross  the  stream. 

nature  of  the  tie  which  bound  the  Burgundians  to  the  Frankish 
monarchy.  *He  sent  10,000  men  to  help  the  Goths,  not  from 
among  the  Franks  themselves,  but  from  the  Burgundians,  in 
order  not  to  seem  to  hurt  the  Emperor's  interest.  For  the 
Burgundians  were  represented  as  going  willingly  and  by  their 
own  independent  resolution  {iOeXovaioi  re  koL  avTop6fi(o  yvwixij), 
not  as  obeying  the  command  of  Theudibert '  (De  Bello  Gotthico, 
ii.  12  ;  p.  196). 

^  Was  this  Uliaris  the  man  whose  drunken  sportsmanship 
proved  fatal  to  John  the  Armenian  during  the  pursuit  of 
Gelimer  1  (See  vol.  iii.  p.  688.)  Possibly ;  but  names  beginning 
with  Uli-  were  common  among  the  barbarians.  Belisarius  seems 
to  be  more  indignant  with  Uliaris  than  with  his  comrade  for  the 
failure  of  the  expedition :  as  if  there  were  already  some  old 
score  against  him  not  wiped  out. 

332        Dissensions  in  the  Imperial  Camp, 

BOOKv.       A  messenger  despatched  bj  Mundilas,  Paulns  by 

'. L  name  \  stole  through  the  ranks  of  the  besiegers, 

^^  ■  swam  across  the  river,  and  was  admitted  to  the 
tent  of  the  generals.  With  burning  words  he 
told  them  that  their  delay  was  ruining  the  cause 
of  the  Emperor,  and  that  they  would  be  no  better 
than  traitors  if  they  allowed  the  great  city  of 
Mediolanum,  wealthiest  and  most  populous  of  all 
the  cities  of  Italy  ^,  her  great  bulwark  against 
the  Franks  and  all  the  other  Transalpine  barba- 
rians, to  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy.  The 
generals  promised  speedy  assistance,  a  promise 
with  which  Paulus,  returning  by  night  through 
the  ranks  of  the  enemy,  gladdened  the  hearts 
of  his  fellow-citizens.  But  still  they  sat,  week 
after  week,  in  unaccountable  hesitation,  cowering 
by  the  southern  bank  of  the  great  river. 
John  re-         At  length,   in   order   to    justify  themselves   to 

fuses  to  .  1  •  1 

inarch  to  lieiisarius,  they  wrote  him  a  letter  saymg  that 
ance  of  they  feared  their  forces  were  insufficient  to  cope 
with  the  great  armies  of  the  Goths  and  Franks 
that  were  roaming  through  the  plains  of  Liguria, 
and  begging  him  to  order  John  and  Justin  to 
march  from  the  neighbouring  province  of  Aemilia 
to  their  aid.  Such  an  order  was  sent  to  those 
generals,  who  openly  refused  to   obey  any  com- 

^  Not  Paulus  the  commander  of  the  Thracians,  apparently. 
Procopius  would  hardly  have  called  him  rojv  nva.  'Pco/zatcoj/,  Havkov 


^  noXewv  Tu>v  iv  ^IraXia  Traacov  fidXia-ra  fxeyeBei  re  koL  noXvavOpccnla 
Koi  rfj  ciXXr}  evdat^ovia  Trapa  ttoXv  TTpovx^ovcra  (ii.  2l).  He  does  not, 
apparently,  except  even  Rome. 


Milan  retaken  by  the  Goths.  333 

mand  of  Belisarius,  saying  that  Narses  was  their  book  v. 

leader.  — '■ — '-^ 

In  these  wretched  delays,  the  fruit  of  cowardice      ^^^* 

*^  .  -  Narses 

and  of  insubordination,  more  than  six  months  gives  way, 
must  have  passed  from  the  nrst  investment  oi  late. 
Milan.  At  length  Narses,  having  received  a 
letter  from  Belisarius  frankly  setting  before  him 
the  dangers  which  his  insubordinate  policy  was 
preparing  for  the  Empire,  gave  the  required 
order.  John  began  collecting  boats  upon  the 
Venetian  coast  to  enable  the  army  to  make  the 
passage  of  the  river,  but  was  attacked  by  fever 
— apparently  a  genuine,  not  a  feigned  attack — 
and  when  he  recovered,  the  opportunity  was  lost. 

For,  in  the  meantime,  the  disgracefully  aban-  Mundiias 
doned  defenders  of  Milan  had  been  undergoing  the  sur- 
terrible  privations.  They  were  reduced  at  last  Milan, 
to  eat  dogs  and  mice  and  such  creatures  as  no 
man  had  ever  thought  of  before  in  connection 
with  the  idea  of  food.  The  besiegers,  who  knew 
how  matters  stood  with  them,  sent  ambassadors, 
calling  on  Mundiias  to  surrender  the  city,  and 
promising  that  the  lives  of  all  the  soldiers  should 
be  preserved.  Mundiias  was  willing  to  agree  to 
these  terms  if  the  citizens  might  be  included  in 
the  capitulation ;  but  the  enemy,  indignant  at 
the  treachery  of  the  Milanese,  avowed  that  every 
one  of  them  should  perish.  Then  Mundiias  made 
a  spirit-stirring  address  to  his  soldiers,  exhorting 
them  to  seize  their  arms  and  burst  forth  with  him 
in  one  last  desperate  sally.     He  could  not  bear,  by 

334        Dissensions  in  the  Imperial  Camp, 

BOOKV.  looking  on,  to  make  himself  a  partaker  in  the 
^^'  ^^'  dreadful  deeds  which  would  assuredly  be  done 
^^^*  against  these  unhappy  subjects  of  the  Emperor, 
whose  only  crime  was  havmg  invited  him  within 
their  walls.  *  Every  man/  said  he,  *  has  his  ap- 
pointed day  of  death,  which  he  can  neither  hasten 
nor  delay.  The  only  difference  between  men  is 
that  some  meet  this  inevitable  doom  gloriously, 
while  others,  struggling  to  escape  from  it,  die  just 
as  soon,  but  by  a  coward's  deaths  Let  us  show 
that  we  are  worthy  of  the  teaching  of  Belisarius, 
which  we  have  all  shared,  and  which  makes  it  an 
impiety  for  us  to  be  anything  else  but  brave  and 
glorious  in  our  dying.  We  may  achieve  some  un- 
dreamed-of victory  over  the  enemy  :  and  if  not, 
we  are  nobly  freed  from  all  .our  present  miseries/ 

The  city         The  cxhortatiou  was  in  vain.     The  soldiers,  dis- 


dered.  heartened  by  the  hardships  of  the  siege,  could  not 
rise  to  the  height  of  the  desperate  courage  of  their 
leader,  and  insisted  on  surrendering  the  city  to  the 
Goths.  The  barbarians  honourably  observed  to- 
wards the  soldiers  the  terms  of  the  capitulation, 
but  wreaked  their  full  vengeance  on  the  wretched 

Terrible     inhabitants  of  Milan.     All  the  men  were  slain,  and 

massacre  .... 

of  the        these,  if  the  information  given  to  Procopius  was 


correct,  amounted  to  300,000.  ihe  women  were 
made  slaves,  and  handed  over  by  the  Goths  to  their 
Burgundian  allies  in  payment  of  their  services. 
The  city  itself  was  rased  to  the  ground :  not  the 

^  In  this  passage  (p.  233)  Mundilas  uses  almost  the  very- 
language  of  the  companions  of  Mohammed. 

Narses  Recalled,  335 

only  time  that  signal  destruction  has  overtaken  book  v. 

Ch.  11. 


the  fair  capital  of  Lombardy.  All  the  sur- 
rounding cities,  notwithstanding  their  Imperial 
garrisons,  had  to  open  their  gates  to  the  foe ;  but 
we  do  not  read  that  they  shared  the  same  terrible 
fate.  Liguria  was  once  again  part  of  the  Gothic 

Keparatus,  the  Praetorian  Prefect,  and  successor  Reparatus 

and  Cer- 

of  Fidelius,    fell   into   the   hands    of  the   Goths,  ventinus., 

.  •       1      1     1       •  1  >  •    brothers 

and,  not  being  included  m  the  army  s  capi-ofPope 
tulation,  was  cut  up  by  the  barbarians  into  small 
pieces,  which  were  then  contemptuously  thrown  to 
the  dogs.  Cerventinus  his  brother — the  two  were 
also  brothers  of  Pope  Vigilius — had  shared  the 
flight  of  Reparatus  from  Ravenna.  More  for- 
tunate than  his  brother,  he  now  escaped  from  the 
doomed  city,  and  making  his  way  through  Venetia, 
bore  the  terrible  tidings  to  Justinian.  Martin  and 
Uliaris,  returning  from  their  inglorious  campaign, 
brought  the  same  tidings  to  Belisarius,  who  re- 
ceived them  with  intense  grief  and  anger,  and 
refused  to  admit  Uliaris  to  his  presence.  In  his  Belisarius 
letter  to  the  Emperor  he  doubtless  laid  the  blame  disaster  to 
of  the  fall  of  Milan  on  the  divided  counsels  by 
which  for  the  last  twelve  months  his  arm  had 
been  paralysed.  Justinian,  among  whose  many 
faults  cruelty  was  not  included,  inflicted  no  signal 
punishment  on  any  of  the  blunderers  by  whom  his 
interests  had  been  so  grievously  injured,  but  took 
now  the  step  which  he  should  have  taken  on  the 
first  news  of  the  dissensions  of  the  generals,  by 

336        Dissensions  in  the  Imperial  Camp, 

BOOKV.  sending  to  Narses  a  letter  of  recall,  and  formally 

^^'  ^^'    constituting  Belisarius  Generalissimo  of  the  Impe- 

539-      rial  forces  in  Italy. 

Narses  re-       Narscs  accordingly  returned  with  a  few  soldiers 

Constan-    to  Constantinople.     The  wild  Herulians  who  had 

come  in  his  train  refused  to  serve  under  any  other 

leader,  marched  off  into  Liguria,  sold  their  captives 

and  their  beasts  of  burden  to  the  Goths,  took  an 

oath   of   perpetual   friendship    with   that   nation, 

marched    through    Venetia    into    Illyria,    again 

changed  their  minds,  and  accepted  service  under 

the  Emperor  at  Constantinople.     An  unstable  and 

brutish  people,  and  one  for  which  Procopius  never 

spares  a  disparaging  word  when  an   opportunity 

of  uttering  it  is   afforded  by  the  course  of  his 


NOTE  C.    On  the  Topogra^phy  of  Orvieto. 

Procopius's  account  of  the  capture  of  Orvieto  is  more  NOTE  C. 
allusive  and  less  clear  tlian  is  usual  with  him.  It  is  only 
in  a  parenthesis  (oircp  kyiv^To)  that  we  are  informed  of  the 
surrender  of  the  city,  and  we  are  left  to  infer  that  it  was 
the  result  of  famine.  For  the  sake  of  travellers  to  this 
city,  now  so  desolate,  yet  so  noble  in  its  desolation,  I  trans- 
late the  description  given  by  Procopius  : — '  Belisarius  went 
round  the  city  to  see  if  he  could  spy  out  any  place  suitable 
for  an  assault,  but  came  to  the  conclusion  that  it  was  im- 
pregnable by  open  attack,  though  it  might  perhaps  be 
taken  by  some  well-contrived  stratagem.  For  it  rises,  a 
solitary  hill  out  of  a  hollow  country,  evenly  sloping  and  level 
above,  but  precipitous  below  ^  [a  very  accurate  description]. 
But  round  this  hill  other  cliffs  of  the  same  height  range 
themselves  in  a  circle,  not  in  the  immediate  neighbour- 
hood, but  about  a  stone's  throw  distant.  [The  nearest  hill, 
that  on  the  east  of  the  city,  is  quite  half  a  mile  distant, 
further  assuredly  than  any  catapult  could  throw.]  On  this 
hill  the  men  of  old  founded  a  city,  but  did  not  surround  it 
with  walls  or  any  other  kind  of  fortification,  thinking  that 
Nature  had  herself  made  it  impregnable.  For  there  is  only 
one  way  of  access  to  it  from  the  [neighbouring]  heights, 
and  if  this  is  guarded  the  defenders  need  fear  attack  from 
no  other  quarter.  For  round  all  the  rest  of  the  city,  except 
this  one  point,  runs  a  broad  and  unfordable  stream  filling 
up  the  chasm  between  the  city  and  the  surrounding  emi- 
nences. A  little  fortress  was  accordingly  erected  by  the 
Romans  of  old  at  this  point  of  access,  and  in  it  is  a  postern 
gate  (ttvAis),  which  was  guarded  by  the  Goths. 

'  Belisarius  therefore  ranged  all  his  army  round  the  city, 
on  the  chance  of  effecting  something  against  it  by  the  way 
of  the  river,  but  having  also  some  hope  that  the  enemy 

^  A6(f)os  yc'ip  Tis  eK  kolKtjs  yrjs  ave)(ei  fxouos,  to,  [xiu  virepdev  virrios 
T€  KOL  SpaXos,  TO.  8e  KUTO)  KpT]}JLVa>b-qs  (p.  225). 

VOL.  IV.  Z 

338  Note  C, 

NOTE  C.  would  be  compelled  to  surrender  by  hunger '  [which  appa- 

'  rently  is  what  actually  occurred]. 

The  assertion  of  Procopius  as  to  the  course  of  the  river 
encircling  the  whole  city  except  at  one  point  is  not  true 
now.  Orvieto  is  situated  near  the  confluence  of  the  Paglia 
and  the  Chiana  (Clanis).  The  former  stream  flows  diagon- 
ally past  the  northern  and  eastern  sides  of  the  city,  but  its 
southern  and  western  sides  have  no  river  below  them.  The 
course  of  the  Paglia,  however,  has  been  a  good  deal  changed 
even  in  recent  times  (so  I  was  assured  by  the  canons  of  the 
cathedral)  :  and  all  the  land  about  the  railway  station 
(in  the  fork  between  the  two  rivers)  is  '  made  ground.'  It 
is  therefore  possible  that  the  river  may  in  former  times 
have  wound  more  than  half  round  the  city,  and  afterwards 
joined  the  Clanis  at  a  lower  point  than  it  does  now.  The 
one  side  by  which  it  could  be  approached  would  probably 
be  from  the  hills  to  the  west,  between  it  and  Bolsena. 




Source  : — 

pROCOPius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  n.  23-27  (pp.  238-260).     BOOKV. 

Ch.  12. 

The  war  had  now  lasted  four  years  ^  and  it  was  May,  539. 
over  a  ruined  and  wasted  Italy  that  the  wolves  2-\\t?y  by 
of  war  were  growling.  The  summer  of  538  was  *^®  ^^^'■' 
long  remembered  as  the  time  when  Famine  and 
her  child  Disease  in  their  full  horror  first  fell  upon 
Tuscany,  Liguria,  and  the  Aemilia.  The  fields  had 
now  been  left  for  two  years  uncultivated.  A  self- 
sown  crop,  poor  but  still  a  crop,  sprang  up  in  the 
summer  of  537.  Unreaped  by  the  hand  of  man,  it 
lay  rotting  on  the  ground  :  no  plough  stirred  the 
furrows,  no  hand  scattered  fresh  seed  upon  the 
earth,  and  in  the  following  summer  there  was  of 
course  mere  desolation.  The  inhabitants  of  Tus- 
cany betook  them  to  the  mountains,  and  fed  upon 
the  acorns  which  they  gathered  in  the  oak-forests 
that  cling  round  the  shoulders  of  the  Apennines. 
The  dwellers  in  the  Aemilia  flocked  into  Picenum, 
thinking  that  the  nearness  of  the  seaboard  would 

^  Procopius  puts  the  end  of  the  fourth  year  of  the  war  (May, 
539)  j^st  after  the  recall  of  Narses. 

Z  2 

340  Sieges  of  Fiesold  mid  Osimo, 

BOOK  V.  at  least  preserve  them  from  absolute  starvation ; 

Ch  12  •  • 

jet,  even  in  Picenum,  it  was  computed  that  not 

•■'^^'  less  than  50,000  peasants  perished  of  famine. 
Effects  of  Procopius  marked  the  stages  of  decline  in  this 
the  people,  liunger-smittcn  people,  and  describes  it  in  words 
which  were  perhaps  meant  to  remind  the  reader  of 
Thucydides  description  of  the  Plague  of  Athens. 
First  the  pinched  face  and  yellow  complexion  sur- 
charged with  bile  ;  then  the  natural  moisture  dried 
up,  and  the  SAin,  looking  like  tanned  leather, 
adhering  to  the  bones  ;  the  yellow  colour  turning 
to  a  livid  purple,  and  the  purple  to  black,  which 
made  the  poor  famine-stricken  countryman  look 
like  a  burned-out  torch ;  the  expression  of  dazed 
wonder  in  the  face  sometimes  changing  to  the 
wild  eyes  of  the  maniac  ; — 'he  saw  and  noted  it  all. 
As  is  always  the  case  after  long  endurance  of 
hunger,  some  men,  when  provisions  were  brought 
into  the  country,  could  not  profit  by  them.  How- 
ever carefully  the  nourishment  was  doled  out  to 
them,  in  small  quantities  at  a  time  as  one  feeds  a 
little  child,  still  in  many  cases  their  digestions 
could  not  bear  it,  and  those  who  had  survived  the 
famine  died  of  food. 
Canniba^-  In  some  places  cannibalism  made  its  appearance. 
Two  women  dwelt  in  a  lonely  house  near  Eimini, 
and  were  wont  to  entice  into  their  dwelling  the 
passers-by,  whom  they  slew  in  their  sleep,  and  on 
whose  flesh  they  feasted.  Seventeen  men  had  thus 
perished.  The  eighteenth  started  up  out  of  sleep 
just  as  the  hags  were  approaching  for  his  destruc- 


Miseries  of  Italy,  341 

tion.  With  drawn  sword  he  stood  over  them,  book  v. 
forced  them  to  confess  all  their  wickedness,  and  _!:^ 
then  slew  them.  ^^^' 

Elsewhere  the  famine-wasted  inhabitants  might 
be  seen  streaming  forth  into  the  fields  to  pluck  any 
green  herb  that  could  be  made  available  for  food. 
Often  when  they  had  knelt  down  for  this  purpose 
their  strength  would  not  serve  them  to  pull  it  out 
of  the  ground.  And  so  it  came  to  pass  that  they 
lay  down  and  died  upon  the  ungathered  herbage, 
unburied,  for  there  was  none  to  bury  them,  but 
undesecrated,  for  even  the  birds  of  carrion  found 
nothing  to  attract  them  in  those  fleshless  corpses. 

One  little  story  told  by  Procopius  brings  vividly  story  of 
before  us  the  misery  caused  in  Italy  by  the  move- 
ments of  the  hostile  armies.  When  the  historian 
accompanied  Belisarius  on  his  march  over  the 
Apennines  for  the  relief  of  Rimini,  he  saw  a  child 
which  was  suckled  and  watched  over  by  a  goat. 
The  mother  of  this  child,  a  woman  of  Urbs  Salvia, 
had  fled  before  the  approach  of  John's  army — the 
liberating  army — into  the  province  of  Picenum, 
In  her  flight  she  had  been  for  a  moment,  as  she 
supposed,  parted  from  her  new-born  babe  ;  but 
either  death  or  captivity  had  prevented  her  from 
returning  to  the  place  where  she  had  laid  it  down. 
The  babe,  wrapped  in  its  swaddling-clothes,  lifted 
up  its  voice  and  wept.  A  she-goat  which  was  near 
ran  to  it,  and  pitying  its  cry,  nourished  it  as  she 
would  have  nourished  her  own  little  one,  and 
guarded  it  from  all  other  animals.      When  the 

342  Sieges  of  FiesoU  and  Osimo. 

BOOKV.  inhabitants  of  Urbs  Salvia  found  that  John  s  army 
^°'  "''^'  had  friendly  thoughts  towards  them,  they  returned 
^^^  to  their  homes ;  but  among  them  was  not  the 
mother  of  the  child.  One  after  another  of  the 
women  offered  to  give  suck  to  the  child,  but  it 
refused  all  nourishment  save  that  of  its  four-footed 
nurse ;  and  she  with  loud  bleatings  and  gestures 
of  anger  claimed  the  child  as  her  own  charge. 
It  was  therefore  left  to  the  care  of  the  goat,  and 
named,  like  the  outcast  prince  of  Argos,  Aegisthus, 
*  the  goat's  child.'  Procopius,  as  has  been  said, 
saw  this  marvel  on  his  way  through  Urbs  Salvia. 
The  goat  was  at  the  time  at  some  little  distance 
from  her  charge,  but  when  Procopius  and  his 
friends  pinched  it  and  made  it  cry,  she  came 
bounding  towards  it  with  a  bleat  of  distress, 
and  standing  over  it,  signified  with  butting  horn 
that  she  would  guard  it  against  all  assailants. 

witigis  Notwithstanding  the  cruel  exhaustion  of  Italy, 

sends  two  .  .. 

ecciesias-  the  parties  were  still  too  evenly  matched  tor  the 
embassy  to  struggle  to  comc  to  an  end.  Witigis,  who  by  his 
tardy  and  resonrceless  policy  reminds  us  not  a  little 
of  our  Saxon  Ethelred,  began  to  cast  about  him 
for  allies,  a  step  which,  if  he  had  taken  it  three 
years  ago,  might  perhaps  have  saved  him  from 
ruin.  The  Franks  were  too  utterly  untrustworthy ; 
the  Lombards,  to  whose  King  Wacis  he  sent  an 
embassy  offering  great  gifts  as  the  price  of  his 
alliance,  refused  to  break  with  Byzantium.  He 
therefore  called  an  assembly  of  the  elders,  such  an 
assembly  as  our  ancestors  would   have   called  a 

Gothic  Embassy  to  the  Persian  King,      343 
Witena-sremote,  and  there  setting;  forth  the  dif-  book  v. 

....  .  .        Ch  12. 

ficulties  of  his  situation,  asked  for  the  advice  of  his  — '. — L 

subjects.  After  long  deliberations  and  many  idle  ^^^* 
suggestions,  a  proposal  was  made  which  was  fitted 
to  the  present  state  of  affairs.  It  was  pointed  out 
by  one  of  the  Gothic  statesmen  that  the  peace 
which  Justinian  concluded  on  the  accession  of 
Chosroes  in  531  was  the  true  cause  of  the  disasters 
both  of  the  Vandal  and  the  Gothic  monarchies. 
Had  the  Caesar  of  Constantinople  not  felt  secure 
of  attack  from  the  Persian  King,  he  had  never 
dared  to  employ  the  matchless  skill  of  Belisarius 
on  the  banks  of  Libyan  rivers  and  under  the  walls 
of  Umbrian  towns.  It  was  therefore  proposed 
and  decided  to  send  ambassadors  to  Chosroes  to 
stir  him  up,  if  possible,  to  a  renewal  of  hostilities 
against  the  Homan  Empire.  The  ambassadors 
chosen  were  not  Goths,  whose  nationality  might 
have  prevented  them  from  traversing  in  safety  the 
wide  provinces  of  the  East,  but  two  priests  of 
Liguria,  probably  Arian  by  their  creed  though 
Roman  by  speech  and  parentage,  who  for  the 
promise  of  a  large  sum  of  money  undertook  this 
hazardous  enterprise.  One  of  these  assumed  the 
style  of  a  bishop  S  to  give  weight  to  his  represen- 
tations, and  the  other  accompanied  him  as  an 
ecclesiastical  attendant. 

The  journey  of  these  men  to  the  Persian  Court 

*  Very  probably  he  was  really  a  bishop,  whose  Arian  title 
was  treated  as  of  no  account  by  the  orthodox  persons  from 
whom  Procopius  received  his  information. 

344  Sieges  of  FiesoU  and  Osimo. 

BOOKV.  of  course  occupied  a  considerable  time,  and  tbe 

^^'  ^'^'    full  results  of  their  mission  were  not  apparent  for 

^   ^}^:      more  than  a  year  after  the  period  which  we  have 

Justinian  ^  ^ 

shows  a     now  reached.     The  mere   rumour,  however,  that 


to  treat      nos^otiations  were  beina:  opened  between  the  Goths 

with  the  ^  -r^        .  1        T         •     • 

Goths.  and  the  Persians  made  Justinian,  who  knew  the 
weakness  of  his  eastern  frontier,  so  anxious  to 
close  the  Italian  war  that  he  at  once  sent  home 
the  Gothic  envoys,  who  for  a  twelvemonth  had 
been  waiting  in  his  ante-chambers,  suffering  all 
those  heart-breaking  delays  which  seem  to  be  en- 
gendered by  the  very  air  of  Constantinople.  Now 
they  were  bidden  to  return,  offering  to  the  Goths 
a  long  truce  on  terms  which  should  be  beneficial 
to  both  the  combatants.  Belisarius,  however,  who 
throughout  this  stage  of  the  proceedings  overruled 
with  little  hesitation  the  decisions  of  his  master, 
refused  to  allow  the  Gothic  envoys  to  enter  Ra- 
Returnof  vcuua  till  the  saiictitv  of  the  persons  of  ambas- 
Athana-  sadors  had  been  vindicated  by  the  return  of 
Constan-  Pctcr  and  Mhanasius,  the  Emperor's  envoys  to 
mope.  Theodahad,  who,  for  nearly  four  years,  had  been 
kept  in  unjustifiable  captivity.  They  returned, 
and  as  a  reward  of  their  devotion  were  promoted 
to  high  offices  in  the  Empire.  Athanasius  was 
made  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Italy  in  the  room  of 
Peparatus,  slain  at  Milan  ;  and  Peter,  the  brave 
and  outspoken  disputant  with  Theodahad,  was 
hailed  as  Illustrious  Master  of  the  Offices,  and 
received  the  embassies  of  foreign  rulers  in  the 
palace-hall  of  Byzantium. 

FiesoU.  345 

In   these   negotiations    the    winter   and   early  book  v. 

.        •  Ch  12 

spring  of  539  wore  away.     In  May  539  Belisarius  — \ — L 


addressed  himself  to  the  capture  of  the  two  fort-      ^^^' 

resses  which  still  held  out  for  the  Goths  south  of  ^"^^^^^J^^^^e^ 

Eavenna  :    and  such   was    the  strens^th  of   their  *ion  of  the 

*-*  two  re- 

position, perched  upon  their   almost   inaccessible  raining 

heififhts,  that  all  the  rest  of  the  year  was  consumed  toids  of 

°  -^  the  Goths 

upon  the  task.     The  two  fortresses  were  Faesulae  in  Central 
and  Auximum,  represented  by  the  modern  towns 
of  Fiesold  and  Osimo,  the   one   overlooking  the 
gleaming   Arno,    the    other    beholding   the    blue 
Hadriatic  upon  its  horizon. 

Every  Italian  traveller  knows  the  little  Tuscan  Fiesoie. 
town  to  which  w^e  climb  for  our  finest  view  of  the 
dome  of  Brunelleschi  and  the  tower  of  Giotto, 
pausing  in  our  ascent  to  visit  the  villa  of  the 
Magnificent  Lorenzo,  and  thinking  of  Milton's 
conversations  with  Galileo  as  we  gaze  upon 

'The  moon  whose  orb 
Through  ojotic  glass  the  Tuscan  artist  viewed 
At  evening  from  the  top  of  Fiesoie.' 

Instead  of  all  this  cluster  of  enchanting  sights 
and  memories,  what  had  the  Faesulae  of  the  sixth 
century  to  show  %  She  had,  no  doubt  in  greater 
extent,  that  stupendous  Etruscan  wall,  the  mere 
fragments  of  which  make  the  Eoman  ruins  by  the 
side  of  it  look  like  the  handiwork  of  pigmies. 
She  had  the  high  fortress  or  Arx,  a  thousand  feet 
above  the  Plain  of  Arno,  where  the  friars  of  St. 
Francis'  order  now  kneel  for  worship  ;  the  Temple 
of  Bacchus,  which  was  perhaps  even  then  turned 

346  Sieges  of  Fiesold  and  Osinio. 

BOOK  V.  into   a   Christian  basilica ;    and   the   Theatre,  on 
'        whose  stone  seats  we   may  still  sit  and  imagine 
^^^'      that  we  see  from  thence  the  couriers  of  Belisarius 
or  Witigis  spurring  their  steeds  along  the  Cassian 
B.C.  62.      Eoad  below.     She  had  perhaps  some  remembrance 
of  the  day,  six  centuries  ago,  when  Petreius  de- 
feated Catiline  under  her  cliffs.     More  probably, 
her  inhabitants  yet  pointed  to  the  spot,  near  to 
405.      her  walls,  where   the  vast   horde  of  Eadagaisus 
was   surrounded  and  starved  into  submission  by 
Cyprian         Ficsole  was  held  by  a  body  of  Gothic  troops, 

andJustin       „         ,  ,  .  rn 

sent  to  of  whose  uumbors  we  are  not  informed^.  To 
Fiesoie.  compcl  their  surrender,  Cyprian,  one  of  the  old 
officers  who  had  fought  under  Belisarius  at  the 
siege  of  Kome,  and  Justin,-  one  of  the  new  arrivals 
under  Narses,  were  sent  with  some  of  their  own 
soldiers  (probably  cavalry)  and  a  band  of  Isaurian 
auxiliaries,  together  with  five  hundred  of  the 
regular  infantry,  who  still  represented,  though 
faintly,  the  old  Eoman  legion  ^  John,  now  again 
obedient  to  the  orders  of  Belisarius  ;  another  John, 
whose  mighty  appetite  procured  him  in  the  camp 
the  nickname  of  the  Glutton*;  and  Martin,  ap- 
parently forgiven  for  his  disgraceful  failure  before 
Milan,  were  sent  with  a  large  body  of  troops  to 

*  See  vol.  i.  p.  307. 

^  It  is  strange  that  in  the  careful  enumeration  of  the  Gothic 
garrisons  given  by  Procopius  (De  B.  G.  ii.  12  ;  pp.  187-8)  he 
does  not  mention  Faesulae. 

^  These  were  under  the  special  command  of  Demetrius. 

*  'iwai'i'Tys  ov  Kai  ^ayciv  eKoXovv, 

The  Imperialists  occupy   Toriona.  347 

cover  the  siesie  of  Fiesole  and  to  liover  about  the  book  v. 

.  Ch  12 

upper  waters  of  the  Po.     If  possible,  they  were  to  — \ — 1. 
intercept  the  communications  of  Uraias  with  Ea-      ^^^* 
venna  ;  if  that  were  impossible,  and  if  he  should 
march  to  the  relief  of  his  uncle  Witigis,  they  were 
to  keep  up  an  active  pursuit  of  his  army.     These  Tortona 

ni  iiiade  the 

generals  found  the  town  of  iortona  (then  caJied  basis  of 
Dertona),  by  the  bank  of   the  Po,   a  convenient  operations. 
basis  of  operations.     As  it  was  un walled,  it  covdd 
be  easily  occupied  by  them ;  but  by  the  command 
of  Theodoric  it  had  been  plentifully  supplied  with 
houses  suitable  for  the  quartering  of  troops  \  and 
these  were  now  taken  advantage  of  by  the  generals 
who  came  to  overthrow  his  kingdom.    After  a  few 
skirmishes  the  siege  of  Fiesole  settled  down  into  a 
mere  blockade.     The  Roman  soldiers  w.  re  unable  Fiesoi^^ 
to  scale  the  heights  on  which  the  city  stood,  but 
they  could  easily  surround  them  and  see  that  no 
provisions  were  brought  into  Fiesole.     Pressed  by 
famine,  the  garrison  called  on  Witigis,  who  ordered 
his  nephew  Uraias  to  advance  to  their  assistance. 
Uraias    with    a   large   army   marched   to    Pavia,  Uraias 
crossed    the    Po,    and     sat    down    over    against  to  Pavia. 
John  and  Martin,  at  a  distance   of  some    seven 
miles  from  their  camp  at  Tortona.     Neither  party 
was  willing  to  begin  the  fight.     The  Romans  felt 
that  their  end  was  gained  if  they  prevented  Uraias 

^  This  we  learn  from  Cassiodorus,  Variarum,  i.  17.  See  the 
unfulfilled  anticipations  of  Theodoric  as  to  the  '  durissimae 
manaiones '  in  which  his  enemies  would  be  compelled  to  shelter 

348  Sieges  of  FiesoU  and  Osimo. 

BOOKV.  from  attacking  the  besiegers  of  Tortona.  The 
^'  Goths  feared  that  one  lost  battle  would  shatter 
^^^'  the  last  hope  of  their  monarchy.  Both  armies 
therefore  resumed  that  waiting  game  which  they 
had  played  before  the  fall  of  Milan,  and  for  which 
the  Lombard  plain  (as  we  now  call  it)  is  so  emi- 
nently adapted. 

TheFranks      While  this  was  the  position  of  affairs,   a  new 

Italy .^^^^  enemy  swept  like  a  torrent  down  the  ravines  of 
the  Alps  of  St.  Bernard,  an  enemy  whose  advent 
for  a  time  changed  the  whole  aspect  of  the  war  in 

TheFranks  Upper  Italy.     *  The  Franks/  savs  Procopius,  *  seeing 

described  •      i  •    p        i  •    i       >-n      i  i    t^ 

byProco-  the  mischicf  which  Goths  and  Eomans  were  m- 
flicting  on  one  another,  and  the  length  to  which 
the  war  was  being  protracted,  began  to  take  it  very 
ill  that  they  should  obtain  no  advantage  from  the 
calamities  of  a  country  of  which  they  were  such 
near  neighbours.  Forgetting,  therefore,  the  oaths 
which  they  had  sworn  and  the  covenants  which 
they  had  ratified  only  a  short  time  before  with 
both  kingdoms — for  this  nation  is  the  most  slip- 
pery of  all  mankind  in  its  observance  of  its  plighted 
word^ — they  marched  into  Italy  to  the  number  of 
100,000  men  under  the  guidance  of  their  King 
Theudibert.  A  few  horsemen  armed  with  spears 
surrounded  the  person  of  their  King  :  all  the  rest 
fought  on  foot,  having  neither  bow  nor  spear,  but 
each  with  a  sword  and  shield  and  one  axe.  The 
iron  of  this  axe  is  stout,  sharp,  and  two-edged  ;  the 

^  Compare  the  '  gens  Francorum  iiifidelis '  of  Salvian  (quoted 
in  vol.  i.  p.  509). 

Ho7^rors  of  the  Prankish  Invasion.        349 

handle,  made  of  wood,  is  exceedingly  short.     At  a  book  v. 
signal  given  they  all  throw  these  axes,  and  thus  at  __!!__ 
the  first  onset  are  wont  to  break  the  shields  of  the      ^^^' 
enemy  and  slay  his  men.' 

When  the  Goths  heard  that  this  new  host  under  TheFranks 

„  come  ap- 

Theudibert's  own  command  was  descending  Irom  parentiy  as 
the    passes  of  the  Alps,  they   trusted    that   the  the  Goths. 
Franks  were   about  to  throw    their  weight   into 
the  opposite  scale  to  that  of  the  Empire,  and  that 
the  hard  struggle  of  the  last  four  years  was  at 
length  to  be  terminated  by  their  co-operation.    The 
Franks  took  care  not  to  undeceive  them  so  long  as 
the  Po  had  still  to  be  crossed,  but  marched  as  a 
friendly  force,  harming  no  one,  through  Liguria. 
Having    entered     Pavia,    having    been    allowed  Their 
quietly  to  obtain  possession  of  the  bridge  at  the  at  Pavia. 
confluence  of  the  Ticino  and  the  Po,  they  threw 
off  all  disguise,  and   slaying  the    Gothic  women 
and  children  whom  they  found   there,  cast  their 
dead  bodies  into  the  stream,  as  an  offering  to  the 
unseen  powers  and  as  the  first-fruits  of  the  w^ar. 
Procopius  assures  us  that  this  savage   deed  had  Frankish 

,..  ..p  .  ,  ,,         religion. 

really  a  religious  significance,  'since  these  barba- 
rians, Christians  though  they  be,  preserve  much  of 
their  old  creed,  still  practising  human  sacrifices  and 
other  unhallowed  rites,  by  which  they  seek  to 
divine  the  future.'  Thin  as  the  varnish  of  Christi- 
anity was  over  the  Frankish  nation,  '  the  eldest 
daughter  of  the  Catholic  Church,'  it  is  hardly 
possible  that  this  statement  can  be  literally  true. 
There  were  many  Alamanni,  doubtless,  and  other 

350  Sieges  of  Fiesold  and  Osimo, 

BOOK  V.  men  of  tribes  confessedly  still  heathen,  in  the  wild 

"'        horde  which  clustered  round  the  horse  of  King 

^^^'      Theudibert ;  and  it  may  have  been  some  of  these 

who  performed  the  religious  part  of  the  rite,  the 

Christian    Franks    only    sharing    in    the    brutal 

butchery  which  preceded  it. 

The  Goths       When  the  Gothic  sentinels  on  the  bridge  saw 

venna.  the  horrid  deed  perpetrated  by  these  savages,  they 
fled  without  striking  a  blow.  The  Franks  pro- 
ceeded towards  Tortona;  the  main  body  of  the 
Gothic  army,  still  believing  in  their  friendly  inten- 
tions, advanced  to  meet  them,  but  were  soon  un- 
deceived by  the  storm  of  flying  axes,  swung  by 
Frankish  hands,  laying  their  bravest  low.  In 
their  consternation  they  turned  to  flee,  and  fled 
right  through  the  Eoman  camp,  never  stopping 
till  they  reached  Eavenna. 

Theimpe-       When  the  Imperial  troops  saw  the  flight  of  the 

rial  troops    r\       ^  i  '  i  -t-»    t         •  •    i 

also  scat-    (jroths,    deeming   that    Jielisarms   must   certamly 

flight  be-    have  arrived,  must  have  conquered,  and  must  be 

Franks!     HOW  pursulug,  they  advanced,   as  they  supposed, 

to  meet  him.      They  too  were  cruelly  undeceived, 

and  being  easily  routed  by  the  vast  host  of  the 

Franks,    fled    across    the    Apennines,    some    into 

Tuscany  to  join  the  besiegers  of  Fiesole,  others  to 

Osimo  to  tell  the  grievous  tidings  to  Belisarius. 

The  Franks,  having  thus  won  an  easy  victory  over 

both  armies,  and  sacked   both  camps,  rioted   for 

some  time  in  the  enjoyment  of  all  the  good  things 

that  they  found  there  ^.     When  these  came  to  an 

^  In   the  course   of  this    invasion   they  sacked  the  city  of 

Pestilence  in  the  Prankish  Army,         351 

end,  having  no  proper  commissariat,  and,  like  the  book  v. 

brutish  barbarians  that  they  were,  having  no  skill  _^ L 

for  aught  but  mere  ravage  of  the  country  in  which      •''^^" 
they  found  themselves,  they  fell  short  of  provi- 
sions.  The  large  draught-oxen  of  Liguria  furnished 
them  for  a  time  with  beef,  but  their  only  drink 
was  the  water  of  the  great  river.     The  combina-  Disease  in 
tion    proved    injurious   to   the    digestion   of   the  ish  army. 
greedy  soldiers,  and  diarrhoea  and  dysentery  soon 
scourged  the  army  of  Theudibert,  a  third  part  of 
which,  so  it  was  reported,  fell  victims  to  these 

Belisarius  was  filled  with  anxiety  for  the  fate  Beiisarius 

writes  to 

of  the  besiegers  of  Fiesole  when  lie  heard  of  the  Theudi- 
Frankish  invasion.  He  wrote  a  letter  to  Theudi-  retires 
bert  charging  him  with  conduct  which  the  basest 
of  mankind  could  scarcely  have  been  guilty  of,  in 
violating  his  sworn  and  written  promise  to  join  in 
a  league  against  the  Goths,  nay  more,  in  actually 
turning  his  arms  against  the  Empire.  He  warned 
him  that  the  wrath  of  the  Emperor  for  such  a 
wanton  outrage  would  not  be  easily  turned  aside, 
and  recommended  him  to  take  care  lest,  in  his 
light-hearted  search  after  adventures,  he  fell  him- 
self into  the  extreme  of  peril.  The  letter  reached 
Theudibert  just  at  a  time  when  his  fickle  soldiers 
were  loudly  complaining  of  the  loss  of  so  many 

Genoa.  Marcellinus  Comes  says  :  *  Theudibertus  Francorum. 
Rex  cum  magno  exercitu  adveniens  Liguriam  totamque  de- 
praedat  Aemiliam.  Genuam  oppidum  in  littore  Tyrreni  maris 
situm  evertit  ac  praedat '  (ap.  Roncalli,  ii.  327). 

352  Sieges  of  Fiesold  and  Osimo. 

BOOKV.  thousands  of  their  comrades  bj  disease.  The  pur- 
^^'  ^^'  pose  of  his  soul  was  changed,  and  he  vanished 
^^^-  across  the  Alps  with  the  remainder  of  his  host  as 
speedily  as  he  came,  having  done  nearly  as  much 
mischief  and  reaped  as  little  advantage  as  Charles 
VIII,  the  typical  Frank  of  the  fifteenth  century, 
in  his  invasion  of  Italy.  Thus  already  is  the 
melancholy  strain  begun  which  for  a  thousand 
years  and  more  was  to  be  the  dirge  of  Italy. 
Already  might  a  truly  statesmanlike  Roman  see 
the  mistake  which  had  been  made  in  rejecting 
— for  merely  sentimental  reasons — the  wise  policy 
of  Theodoric  and  Cassiodorus,  that  policy  which 
would  have  made  the  Roman  the  brain  and 
the  Ostrogoth  the  sword-arm  of  Italy.  Might  that 
scheme  have  had  fair  play,-^ 

'Then,  still  untired, 
Would  not  be  seen  the  armed  torrents  poured 
Down  the  steep  Alps,  nor  would  the  hostile  horde 
Of  many-nationed  spoilers  from  the  Po 

Quaff  blood  and  water,  nor  the  stranger's  sword 
Be  her  sad  weapon  of  defence,  and  so, 
Victor  or  vanquished,  she,  the  slave  of  friend  or  foe  ^' 

Auximum       While  thcsc  events  were  passing  in  the  north 

bsimo) :     and  west  of  Italy,  Belisarius  was  prosecuting,  with 

pearlnce^'  l^ss  succcss  than  had  hitherto  fallen  to  his  lot,  the 

Mstory^.  ^    ^^^^  sicgc  of  Osimo.    This  little  city,  which  stands 

on   a   hill  900  feet   above   the  sea,  is  ten  miles 

south   of  Ancona,    and   about   nine   west  of  the 

Hadriatic  shore.      Few  travellers  now  climb  up 

to   its  difficult  height  except  those  who  may  be 

^  Childe  Harold,  iv.  43  (after  Filicaja). 

Situation  of  Osimo.  353 

disposed  to  take  it  on  their  way,  when  making  pil-  book  v. 
grim  age  to  the  Holy  House  of  the  Virgin  brought,  ^' 
as  the  story  goes,  by  angels  from  Nazareth  and  ^^^' 
deposited  on  the  neighbouring  hill  of  Loretto. 
The  journey  leads  us  through  one  of  the  fairest 
districts  of  Italy;  a  fertile  undulating  land,  each 
height  crowned  with  its  own  village,  a  stronghold 
in  former  days.  We  meet  the  stalwart  peasants  of 
La  Marca  driving  their  milk-white  oxen  in  their 
antique  chariot-like  carts.  Each  cart  is  adorned 
with  some  picture  of  virgin  or  saint,  or,  for  those 
who  do  not  soar  so  high,  of  wife  or  sweetheart, 
rudely  painted,  but  testifying  to  that  yearning 
after  the  beautiful  in  Art  which  is  the  Italian's 
heritage.  At  length  the  road  mounts  steeply 
upward.  After  a  toilsome  ascent  we  stand  upon 
the  mountain  crest  of  Osimo  and  survey  the  wide 
panorama.  Almost  at  our  feet  lies  Castelfidardo, 
where,  in  i860,  Lamoriciere,  commanding  the 
soldiers  of  the  Pope,  sustained  a  crushing  defeat 
at  the  hands  of  the  general  of  Victor  Emmanuel. 
The  curving  coast  of  Ancona  on  the  north,  the 
Hadriatic  filling  up  the  eastern  horizon,  the  long 
line  of  the  Apennines  on  the  west,  and  their  king 
the  Gran  Sasso  d'  Italia  in  the  dim  south,  may  all 
be  seen  from  our  airy  watch-tower.  In  the  Palazzo 
Pubblico  of  the  town  we  find  abundant  evidence  of 
its  vanished  greatness.  Here  are  many  inscrip- 
tions, belonging  to  the  age  both  of  republican 
and  imperial  Rome^  betokening  the  pride  of 
the  Auximates  in  their  city,  once  like  Philippi 
VOL.  IV.  A  a 

354  Sieges  of  FiesoU  and  Osi7no, 

BOOK  V.  in  Macedonia,  '  a  chief  city  in  that  country  and 
"'  a  colony.'  The  gens  Ojpj^ia  seems  for  some  time  to 
^^^*  have  supplied  the  chief  persons  of  the  miniature 
senate,  but  all,  of  whatever  family,  proudly  claim 
the  title  of  '  Decurio  of  the  Roman  colony  of  the 
Auximates,'  that  word  Decurio  being  still  a  badge 
of  honour,  not  yet  the  branded  mark  of  servitude. 
Looking  at  these  tombs  we  recall  with  interest 
the  words  of  Caesar,  who  tells  us  that  at  the  be- 

B.c.  49.  ginning  of  the  Civil  War,  the  Decuriones  of  Auxi- 
mum  sent  a  message  to  the  Senatorial  general  who 
commanded  the  garrison,  *that  neither  they  nor 
their  fellow-townsmen  could  endure  that  after  all 
his  services  to  the  Republic,  Caius  Csesar  the 
general  should  be  excluded  from  their  walls/  In 
the  years,  nearly  six  hundred,  which  had  passed 
since  that  important  resolution  was  formed,  Auxi- 
mum  had  generally  played  its  part  with  credit,  as 
the  leading  city  of  Picenum.  Ancona,  which  now 
far  surpasses  it  in  importance,  was  then  its  humble 
dependent,  bearing  to  it  nearly  the  same  relation 
that  Ostia  bore  to  Rome  or  Peiraeus  to  Athens  ^ 

The  siege        Auximum  was  garrisoned  by  some  of  the  noblest 

of  Osimo  .  _, 

formed,  and  most  martial  of  the  Goths,  who  rightly  looked 
upon  it  as  the  key  of  Eavenna.  The  Roman 
troops  were  quartered  in  huts  all  round  the  foot 
of  the  hill ;  and  the  garrison  saw  a  chance  of 
success  by  making  a  charge  at  evening  upon  a 
portion  of  the  host  while  Belisarius  was  still  en- 

^  This  change  in  the  relative  importance  of  the  two  cities  is 
pointed  out  in  Lord  Mahon's  Life  of  Belisarius  (p.  248). 

Ch.  12. 

Osimo  blockaded,  355 

gaged  with  his  body-guard  in  measuring  the  book  v. 
ground  for  the  camp.  The  attack  was  bravely 
repelled,  and  the  garrison  retired,  but  the  moment 
they  stood  again  on  their  precipitous  hill-top  the 
battle  again  inclined  in  their  favour.  Night  fell  : 
a  number  of  the  garrison,  who  had  gone  out  to 
forage  the  day  before,  returning,  found  the  camp- 
fires  between  them  and  Auximum.  A  few  managed 
to  steal  through  the  lines  of  the  Komans  into  the 
city,  but  the  greater  number  took  refuge  in  some 
woods  near,  and  were  there  found  by  the  besiegers 
and  killed. 

Eeluctantly    Belisarius,    having;    carefully    sur-  Beiisarius 

,        ,  °  1       .  1         resolves  to 

veyed  the  ground,  came  to  the  conclusion  that  blockade 
the  place  being  absolutely  unapproachable  all 
round,  except  by  a  steep  ascent,  was  invulnerable 
to  any  sudden  stroke,  and  must  be  blockaded. 
The  blockade  took  him  seven  months,  months  of 
weariness  and  chafing  delay,  during  which  the 
Frank  was  descending  into  Lombardy,  the  Courts 
of  Ravenna  and  Ctesiphon  were  spinning  their 
negotiations  for  alliance,  and  the  position  of  the 
Empire  under  the  grasping  policy  of  Justinian 
was  becoming  every  day  more  full  of  peril. 

There  was  a  green  patch  of  ground  not  far  from  The  forag- 
the  walls  of  Osimo  which  was  the  scene  of  many  ^^^^^^"^  " 
a  bloody  encounter.  Each  party  by  turns  resorted 
to  it  to  obtain  forage  for  their  horses  and  cattle, 
sometimes,  in  the  case  of  the  hard-pressed  garrison, 
to  pluck  some  herbs  by  which  men  could  allay  the 
pangs  of  hunger ;    and  each  party  when  thus  en- 

Aa  2 

356  Sieges  of  Fiesold  and  Osimo, 

BOOK  V.  gaged  was  of  course  harassed  by  the  enemy.  Once 
"•  '  the  Goths,  seeing  a  number  of  Eomans  on  the 
^^^'  foraging-ground,  detached  some  heavy  waggon- 
wheels  from  their  axles  and  rolled  them  down  the 
hill  upon  their  foes :  but  the  Eomans  easily  opened 
their  ranks  and  let  the  waggon-wheels  thunder 
past  them  into  the  plain,  guiltless  of  a  single 
besieger's  life.  In  reading  of  these  naive  expe- 
dients of  the  Goths  for  inflicting  injury  on  their 
foes,  one  feels  that  they  were  but  overgrown 
schoolboys,  playing  the  game  of  war  with  a  cer- 
tain heartiness  and  joviality,  but  quite  ignorant  of 
the  conditions  of  success. 

bus^caS"  Their  next  move,  however,  showed  a  little  more 
tactical  skill.  They  stationed  an  ambuscade  in  a 
valley  at  some  little  distance  from  the  town,  by 
judicious  appearance  of  flight  drew  the  Komans 
towards  it,  and  then  with  their  combined  forces  in- 
flicted heavy  loss  on  the  besiegers.  The  misfortune 
of  the  position  was  that  the  Romans  who  remained 
in  the  camp  could  plainly  see  the  ambuscade,  and 
shouted  to  their  comrades  not  to  venture  further 
in  that  direction :  but  in  the  din  of  battle  the 
shouts  were  either  unheard  or  supposed  to  be 
shouts  of  encouragement,  and  thus  the  Gothic 
stratagem  succeeded. 

The  advice      While  Bclisarius  was  brooding  over  this   dis- 

of  Proco-  ,       . 

plus  as  to   appomting  day's  work,  his  secretary,  the  literary 

the  trum-     -p.  .  i       i       i  •  •   i  >    ^ 

pet-calls.  Jrrocopius,  approached  mm  with  a  suggestion 
drawn  from  his  reading  of  the  war-books  written 
by  '  the  men  of  old.'     '  In  ancient  times,'  said  he, 

Sounding  the  recall.  357 


'armies  used  to  have  one  note  on  the  bugle  for  book  v. 

Ch.  12. 

advance,  another  for  recall.  It  may  be  that  your 
troops,  largely  recruited  from  among  the  bar-  ^'^* 
barians,  are  too  untutored  to  learn  this  difference 
of  note,  but  at  least  you  may  have  a  difference  of 
instrument.  Let  the  light  and  portable  cavalry- 
trumpet,  made  as  it  is  only  of  wood  and  leather, 
be  always  used  to  sound  the  advance :  and  when 
the  deep  note  of  the  brazen  trumpet  of  the  in- 
fantry is  heard,  let  the  army  know  that  that  is  the 
signal  for  retreat.'  The  general  adopted  his  secre- 
tary's suggestion,  and  calling  his  soldiers  together 
delivered  a  short  harangue  in  which  he  explained 
the  new  code  of  signals,  at  the  same  time  caution- 
ing them  against  headlong  rashness,  and  as- 
suring them  that,  in  the  skirmishing  kind  of 
warfare  in  which  they  were  now  engaged,  there 
was  no  shame  in  retreat,  or  even  in  flight  when 
the  exigencies  of  the  position  required  it.  Of 
those  exigencies  the  general  must  be  the  judge, 
and  he  would  give  the  signal  for  retreat,  when  he 
deemed  it  necessary,  by  a  blast  from  the  infantry 

In  the   next   skirmish   at  the   foraging-ground  The  Moor 
under  the  new  tactics  the  Romans  were  victorious,  suit  of 
One  of  the  swart  Moorish  horsemen  from  Mount  armour. 
Atlas  seeing  the  dead  body  of  a   Goth   covered 
with  gold  armour — haply  such  as  Theodoric  was 
buried  in  at  Ravenna — began  dragging  him  from 
the  field  by  the  hair  of  his  head.     A  Goth  shot 
an  arrow  which  pierced  the  spoiler  through  the 

358  Sieges  of  FiesoU  and  Osimo. 

BOOKV.  calves  of  both  of  his  legs.  Still,  says  Procopius, 
^^-  -^^^  the  Moor  persisted  in  dragging  the  golden-ar- 
^^^'  moured  hero  by  his  hair.  Suddenly  the  trumpet 
of  retreat  was  heard,  and  the  Eomans  hurried  back 
to  the  camp  carrying  off  with  them  both  the  Moor 
and  his  prize  ^. 
Thegarri-  The  garrisou,  who  were  beginning  to  be  hard 
message  to  prcsscd  With  liungcr,  resolved  to  send  messeogers 
to  Eavenna  to  claim  the  help  of  their  King.  The 
letters  were  written  and  the  messengers  prepared. 
Upon  the  first  moonless  night  the  Goths  crowded 
to  the  ramparts  and  uttered  a  mighty  shout,  which 
made  the  besiegers  think  that  a  sally  was  in 
progress  or  that  assistance  was  arriving  from 
Eavenna.  Even  Belisarius  was  deceived,  and  fear- 
ing the  confusion  of  a  nocturnal  skirmish  he  ordered 
his  soldiers  to  keep  quiet  in  their  quarters.  This 
was  exactly  what  the  barbarians  desired,  since 
it  enabled  their  messengers  to  steal  through  the 
Roman  lines  in  safety.  The  letter  which  they 
delivered  to  Witigis  was  worded  in  that  inde- 
pendent tone  which  the  German  warriors  feaxed 
not  to  adopt  to  their  King.  'When  you  placed 
us,  O  King,  as  a  garrison  in  Auximum,  you 
asserted  that  you  were  committing  to  us  the  keys 
of  Eavenna  and  of  your  kingdom.     You  bade  us 

^  The  responsibility  for  this  story  must  rest  with  Procopius 
(p.  243) ;  I  cannot  believe  that  a  man  could  walk  even  two 
steps  who  had  both  his  legs  transfixed  by  one  arrow :  V6t6o^ 
TLs  avTOP  cLKovrico  ^aXciiu  fivcov  re  01  oiviaOev  elcrt,  tcop  KprjjjLooy  e/care/jcoj/, 
€7nTV)(a)V,  evepaei  tov  cikovtIov  a[j.(f)co  too  TToSe  ^vvehrjcrev.  *AX\'  ovdev 
Tt  r](Tcrov  Mavpov(TLos  twv  rpixpiv  ex^ofievos  tov  veKpov  eiA/cey. 

The  Gar7dson  send  to  Ravenna  for  help.    359 
hold  the  place  manfully,  and  you  promised  that  bookv 

Ch  12 

you  with  all  your  army  would  promptly  move  to  ' 

our  assistance.  We,  who  have  had  to  fight  both  ^^^' 
with  hunger  and  Belisarius,  have  been  faithful  to 
our  trust,  but  you  have  not  lifted  a  finger  to  help 
us.  But  remember,  that  if  the  Romans  take 
Auximum,  the  keys  of  your  house,  there  is  not 
a  chamber  therein  from  which  you  will  be  able 
to  bar  them.'  Witigis  read  the  letter,  heard  the  witigis 
messengers,  sent  them  back  to  buoy  up  the  be- help  them, 
leaguered  garrison  with  hopes  of  speedy  assistance,  nothing. 
but  took  not  a  single  step  in  fulfilment  of  his 
promise.  He  was  afraid  of  John  and  Martin, 
hovering  over  the  valley  of  the  Po  :  he  was 
perhaps  more  justly  afraid  of  the  difiiculty  of 
provisioning  his  troops  on  the  long  march  into 
Picenum.  To  the  Bomans  who  had  possession  of 
the  sea,  and  who  could  import  all  that  they  needed 
from  Sicily  and  Calabria,  this  difficulty  was  far  less 
formidable  than  to  him.  Still,  if  the  relief  of 
Osimo  was  dangerous,  its  reduction  meant  certain 
ruin.  Anything  would  have  been  better  than  to 
let  his  brave  soldiers,  trusting  to  his  plighted 
word,  starve  slowly  on  their  battlements,  while  he 
himself,  like  another  Honorius,  skulked  behind 
the  lagoons  of  Bavenna. 

After  these  events  came  the  mad  torrent  of  the 
Prankish  invasion,  bringing  equal  consternation 
to  Goths  and  Bomans,  and  affording  to  Witigis 
something  more  than  a  mere  pretext  for  the  post- 
ponement of  his  promise.     The  garrison  of  Osimo 

360  Sieges  of  FiesoU  and  Osimo. 

BOOK  V.  of  course  knew  nothing  of  this  invasion  ;  and  BeH- 

^^'  ''^'    sarius,  informed  of  the  previous  embassy  by  de- 

^^^'      serters,  watched  the  fortress  with  added  diligence 

to  prevent  any  second  message  from  being  sent. 

Burcentius  jj^  thcsc  circumstaucos,  the  Goths,  bent  on  brinsr- 

the  traitor.  ^  '  ^     "^      _  ® 

ing  their  case  again  before  their  King,  began  to 
parley  with  a  certain  Burcentius,  a  soldier  (prob- 
ably an  Armenian)  who  had  come  to  Italy  with 
Narses  the  Less,  and  who  was  stationed  in  a 
lonely  place  to  prevent  the  foraging  expeditions 
of  the  garrison.  Large  moneys  in  hand  and  the 
promise  of  more  on  his  return  from  Eavenna 
induced  this  man  to  turn  traitor  and  to  bear  the 
Second      letter  of  the  Goths  to  Witio;is.     The   letter  ran 

message  to  ^  ^  ° 

witigis.  thus :  *  You  will  best  inform  yourself  as  to  our 
present  condition  by  enquiring  who  is  the  bearer 
of  this  despatch.  For  it  is  absolutely  impos- 
sible for  any  Goth  to  get  through  the  enemy's 
lines.  Our  best  food  is  now  the  herbage  w^iich 
grows  near  the  city  wall,  and  even  this  cannot 
be  obtained  without  the  sacrifice  of  many  lives. 
Whither  such  facts  as  these  tend  we  leave 
to  be  judged  of  by  you  and  all  the  Goths  in 

TheKin/s  To  this  short  and  pathetic  letter  Witigis  re- 
turned a  long  and  shifty  answer,  laying  the  blame 
of  his  past  inactivity  on  Theudibert  and  the 
Franks ;  promising  now  with  all  speed  to  come 
to  the  assistance  of  his  brave  soldiers,  and  beseech- 
ing them  to  continue  to  act  worthily  of  the 
reputation  for  valour  which  had  caused   him   to 

Burcentius  the  traitor,  361 

single  them  out  from  all  others  as  the  defenders  book  v. 
of  his  kingdom.  — '. — L 

With  the  King's  letter  and  many  pieces  of  ^^^' 
Gothic  gold  in  his  girdle,  Burcentius  returned  to 
his  station  by  the  foraging-ground.  His  six  days' 
absence  was  easily  explained  to  his  comrades.  He 
had  been  seized  with  illness,  and  had  been  obliged 
to  spend  those  days,  off  duty,  in  a  neighbouring 
church.  At  a  suitable  time  he  gave  the  King's 
letter  to  the  garrison,  who  were  greatly  encouraged 
thereby,  and  persevered  many  days  longer  in  their 
diet  of  salad,  ever  hoping  that  the  trumpet  of 
Witigis  would  be  heard  next  day  beneath  their 

Still  the  slothful  and  cowardly  King  came  not.  The  third 
Once  more  the  Goths  employed  the  services  of  the 
traitor  Burcentius,  who  this  time  bore  a  letter 
from  them  saying  that  they  would  wait  five  days, 
no  longer,  and  would  then  surrender  the  city. 
Again  Burcentius  returned  after  his  opportune 
illness,  bringing  yet  further  flattering  words  and 
false  hopes  from  the  Nithing  (as  our  Saxon  fore- 
fathers would  have  called  him)  in  his  palace  at 
Ravenna.  Again  they  were  duped,  and  waited 
on  in  the  extremity  of  hardship,  resisting  all  the 
kind  and  coaxing  words  of  Belisarius,  to  whom  it 
began  to  be  a  matter  of  life  and  death  to  get  the 
siege  speedily  ended. 

Utterly  perplexed  by   this   extraordinary   per-  Belisarius 
tinacity  of  the  Goths,  and  longing  to  find  out  its  piexity. 
cause,  the  General  discussed  with  his  subordinate 

362  Sieges  of  Fiesole  and  Osimo. 

BOOK  V.  Valerian,  whether  it  would  be  possible  to  capture 
^'  some  prisoner  of  distinction  and  extort  from  him 
^'^^'  the  desired  knowledge.  Valerian  mentioned  that 
he  had  in  his  train  some  Slovenes  from  the  banks 
of  the  Danube,  and  that  these  men  were  wont  to 
crouch  behind  some  small  rock  or  shrub  and 
stealing  forth  from  thence  to  capture  unwary 
travellers,  either  Komans,  or  barbarians  of  another 
tribe.  This  savage  accomplishment,  as  it  seemed, 
might  now  be  turned  to  useful  account.  A  tall 
and  powerful  Slovene  was  chosen  and  told  that 
he  should  receive  a  large  sum  if  he  would  capture 
a  living  Goth.  He  went  forth  accordingly  in  the 
dim  morning  twilight,  and,  bending  his  stalwart 
limbs  into  the  smallest  possible  compass,  hid  be- 
hind a  bush  close  to  the  for  aging-ground.  Thither 
came  soon  a  Gothic  noble  to  pick  some  herbs  for 
his  miserable  meal.  He  cast  manv  a  look  towards 
the  Koman  camp,  to  see  if  danger  threatened  him 
from  thence,  but  suspected  nothing  of  his  nearer 
A  Gothic  foe.  While  he  was  stooping  down,  suddenly  the 
napped.  Sloveuc  was  upou  him,  grasped  him  tightly  round 
the  waist,  and  in  spite  of  his  struggles  carried  him 
into  the  camp  to  Belisarius\  The  prisoner,  when 
questioned  as  to  the  cause  of  his  countrymen's 
extraordinary  pertinacity,  revealed  the  history  of 
the  last  two  messages  to  Ravenna,  and  pointed  to 

^  Procopius's  story  of  the  manner  in-  which  these  Slovenes 
captured  their  prisoners  seems  to  require  the  use  of  a  noose  of 
some  kind  to  render  it  probable,  but  none  such  is  mentioned 
by  him.  All  seems  to  have  been  done  by  sheer  physical 
strength,  aided  by  surprise. 

The  Slovene  man-catcher.  363 

Burcentius  as  the  bearer  of  them.     The  wretched  book  v. 

Armenian  confessed  his  guilt,  and  was  handed  over '  __L 

to  his  comrades  to  be  dealt  with  according  to  their      ^^^' 
pleasure.     The  pleasure  of  these  barbarians  was  Burcentius 
that  he  should  be  burned  alive  in  the  full  sight  of  alive. 
the   garrison,  his  employers.     *  Thus,'    says  Pro- 
copius,    '  did    Burcentius    reap   the    fruit    of    his 
greediness  for  gain.' 

Still  the  indomitable  Goths  would  not  surrender  Beiisarius 
the  fortress  which  had  been  confided  to  them  by  to  cut  off 
the  faithless  Witigis — faithless,  but  yet  their  king,  supply. 
Belisarius  therefore  determined  to  cut  off  their 
supply  of  water,  and  thus  force  them  to  a  capitula- 
tion. There  was  outside  the  city,  but  near  the 
walls,  a  cistern  constructed  of  massive  masonry, 
from  which  the  Goths  used  to  draw  water,  each 
excursion  for  the  purpose  being  a  sortie,  which 
had  to  be  effected  hurriedly  and  by  stealth.  The 
General's  design  was  to  break  down  the  masonry 
of  this  cistern  sufficiently  to  prevent  any  large 
accumulation  of  water  therein,  as  the  Goths 
would  never  have  time  to  wait  and  fill  their 
amphorae  from  the  slowly-running  stream.  Draw- 
ing up  all  his  troops  in  battle  array  and  threaten- 
ing the  town  with  an  attack,  he  kept  the  garrison 
occupied  while  five  Isaurians,  equipped  with  axes 
and  crowbars,  stole  into  the  cistern.  They  were, 
however,  perceived  by  the  garrison,  who  guessed 
their  errand,  and  assailed  them  with  a  cloud  of 
missiles.  The  strong  vaulted  roof  over  their  heads, 
placed  there  by  the  builders  of  the  cistern  to  keep 

364  Sieges  of  Fiesold  and  Osimo, 

BOOK  V.  its  waters  from  the  noon-day  sun,  proved  to  the 
'  Isaurians  an  effectual  shelter.  Hereupon  the 
539-  garrison  issued  forth  to  dislodge  them.  So  fierce 
was  their  onset  that  the  besiegers'  line  wavered 
Narrow  bcforc  them.  Belisarius  rushed  to  the  spot,  by 
BeHsarhis.  voico  and  gosturo  exhorting  them  to  stand  firm. 
While  he  was  thus  engaged  an  arrow  from  a 
Gothic  bow  came  whizzing  ^  towards  him,  and 
would  certainly  have  inflicted  on  him  a  fatal 
wound  in  the  belly,  had  not  one  of  his  guards, 
named  Unigat,  seeing  the  General's  danger,  in- 
terposed his  hand  and  in  it  received  the  hostile 
weapon.  The  faithful  guardsman  was  forced  to 
quit  the  field  in  agony,  and  lost  for  the  remainder 
of  his  days  the  use  of  his  hand  ;  but  the  General's 
life  was  saved : — his  narrowest  escape  this,  since  he 
rode  the  dark  roan  charger  on  the  first  day  of  the 
siege  of  Eome.  At  the  same  time,  seven  Armenian 
heroes  (soldiers  of  Narses  the  Less  and  Aratius) 
did  great  deeds  of  valour,  charging  uphill  against 
the  Goths,  dispersing  their  forces  on  the  level 
ground,  and  at  length,  about  noon-day,  turning  the 
battle,  which  had  begun  at  dawn  and  seemed  at 
one  time  likely  to  be  a  Roman  defeat,  into  a 
Roman  victory.  Great,  however,  was  the  disap- 
pointment of  Belisarius  when  he  found  that  all 
this  bravery  had  been  wasted.  The  Isaurians, 
emerging  from  the  cistern,  were  obliged  to  confess 
that  in  six  hours  of  labour  they  had  not  been  able 
to  loosen  a  single  stone.     '  For  the  masons  of  old 

^   ^iiv  potato  noWa, 

Belisarius  poisons  the  Well.  365 

time,'   says   the  historian,    'put  such   thoroughly  book  v. 

good  work  into  this  as  into  all  their  other  build- L 

ings,  that  they  yielded  not  easily  either  to  time  or  ^^^' 
to  the  hand  of  an  enemy.'  This  remark,  which  is 
fully  confirmed  by  all  that  we  see  of  the  earlier 
work  of  the  Romans  in  our  own  land,  is  perhaps 
meant  as  a  covert  criticism  on  the  ostentatious  but 
unenduring  edifices  of  Justinian  ^ 

Thus  foiled  in  his  attempt  to  destroy  the  cistern,  Belisarius 
Belisarius,  regardless  of  those  general  instincts  of  ^d^i^"^ 
humanity  which  have  endeavoured  to  formulate 
themselves  under  the  title  of  '  The  Laws  of  War,' 
resolved  to  poison  the  well.  The  bodies  of  dead  ani- 
mals, poisonous  herbs,  and  heaps  of  quicklime  ^  were 
thrown  by  his  orders  into  the  cistern.  Still,  how- 
ever, the  brave  garrison  held  out,  drawing  their  water 
from  one  tiny  well  in  the  city,  and  looking  forth  daily 
for  the  Gothic  banners  on  the  northern  horizon. 

At  length  the  end  of  this  tedious  siege  came  The  sur- 

rGTiQor  ox 

from   an  unexpected   quarter.      The   garrison    ofFiesoi*? 
Fiesole,   unable    to   endure    their   hardships   any  it" hit "^f ' 
longer,    surrendered   to   Cyprian   and   Justin,   on   ^^^^' 
condition  that  their  lives  should  be  spared.    Bring- 
ing their  new  prisoners  with  them,  the  generals 
marched  to  Osimo.      The  sight  of  their  captive 
fellow-countrymen,  aided  by  the  remonstrances  of 
Belisarius,  broke  down  the  long  endurance  of  the 

^  Mr.  Bryce  informs  me  that  some  remains  of  this  cistern 
are  still  visible. 

^  Ai'^oi/  KaTaK€KavfjL€VT]v  Tjv  naXai  fiev  tituvov  ravvv  be  acr/Seo-Toi/ 
KoKfiv  vevoixUaaiv.  "Ao-^ccttos  is  still  the  ordinary  term  used  iu 
modern  Greek  for  quicklime. 

366  Sieges  of  Fiesold  a7id  Osimo. 

BOOKV.  defenders  of  the  capital  of  Picenum,  and  tliey 
"'  offered  to  surrender  if  they  might  march  forth  with 
^^^'  all  their  possessions  to  join  their  countrymen  at 
Bavenna.  Belisarius  was  earnestly  desirous  to 
end  the  siege  at  once,  before  an  alliance  which  he 
dreaded  between  Franks  and  Goths  should  have 
had  time  to  consolidate  itself.  On  the  other  hand, 
he  was  reluctant  to  allow  so  many  noble  Goths, 
the  bravest  of  the  brave,  to  swell  the  ranks  of 
the  defenders  of  Eavenna  ;  and  his  soldiers  loudly 
murmured  that  it  was  monstrous,  after  subjecting 
them  to  the  hardships  of  a  siege,  and  such  a  siege, 
to  deprive  them  of  a  soldier's  heritage,  the  spoil. 
At  length  the  two  parties  came  to  a  fair  arrange- 
ment. The  Goths  were  to  surrender  half  their 
property  to  the  besiegers,  taking  a  solemn  oath  to 
conceal  nothing,  and  were  allowed  to  retain  the 
other  half.  So  satisfied  were  they  with  these  terms, 
and  probably  also  so  exasperated  at  the  faithlessness 
of  their  King,  that  they  appear  to  have  actually 
taken  service  under  the  standards  of  the  Emperor. 
There  were  evidently  still  many  Goths  to  whom 
only  two  relations  towards  the  Empire  suggested 
themselves  as  possible,  hostile  invasion  of  its  terri- 
tory, or  settlement  Sisfoederati  within  its  borders. 
The  siege  of  Osimo  had  lasted,  according  to  one 
authority,  seven  months.  It  probably  began  in  May, 
539,  and  ended  in  December  of  the  same  year^ 

^  Marcellinus  Comes  (ap.  Eoncalli,  ii.  327):  'Belisarius 
obsidens  Auximum  septimo  mense  ingreditur,  similiterque  et 




Source: — 
Piiocopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  ii.  28-30  (pp.  260-276). 

Guides : — 
For  the  history  of  Cassiodorus,   two   excellent   mono-  BOOKV. 
graphs,  one   by   Thorbecke   (Heidelberg,    1867),   and  the    ^^-  ^^- 
other  by  Franz  (Breslau,  1872),  the  former  dealing  chiefly 
with  the  political,  and  the  latter  with  the  monastic  life  of 

OsiMO  being  taken,  Belisarins  collected  all  his      540- 
energies    for   the   siege    of  Ravenna.       Ravenna,  tions  for 
defended  by  a  power  having  command  of  the  sea,  Ravenna. 
would  have  been  practically  impregnable;  Ravenna, 
beleaguered    by   land   and   by   sea,   had    delayed 
Theodoric  for  three  years  before  its  walls,  and  had 
at  length  only  surrendered  on  a  capitulation  which, 
if  faithfully  observed,  would  have  left  Theodoric 
but   half  a  victory.      BeHsarius   therefore,   while 
making  all  his  preparations  for  a  siege,  determined 
not  to  leave  untried  the  path  of  negotiation,  which 
in  the  present  state  of  the  Emperor's  affairs,  with 
Persia  menacing  and  the  Franks  eager  for  mischief, 
might  shorten  this  dangerous  last  act  of  the  drama. 
The  Franks,  as  the  General  had  been  informed, 

368  The  Fall  of  Ravenna. 

BOOK  V.  were  sending  their  embassy  to  Witigis,  proposing 

^'        an  alliance  for  the  reconquest  and  division  of  Italy; 

-^  \^^'      and   Belisarius  sent  his   ambassadors  to  confront 


of  the        them    there,   and    argue    a^rainst    Metz   for   Con- 
Franks  to  ^  o  o 

Ravenna,    stantinoplc.    At  the  head  of  the  Imperial  embassy 

met  by  am-  ^  ^  ^      ^  ^  "^ 

bassadors    was  Thcodosius,   an    officer  of  high  rank  in  the 

of  Eelisa-  .  iiip-r»T« 

Pius.  semi-regal  household    of    Belisarius,    but    whose 

guilty  intimacy  with  Antonina,  the  mistress  of 
that  household,  had  already  been  spoken  of  by  his 
retinue  under  their  breath,  and  was  at  a  later 
period  to  be  blazed  abroad  in  court  and  market- 
place, and  to  exercise  a  disastrous  influence  on  the 
fortunes  and  character  of  the  uxorious  General. 
Magnus  As  was  bcforo  said,  Belisarius  was  not  trusting 

lius  in  the  wholly  to  negotiation.  Magnus  and  Vitalius,  with 
the  Po.  two  large  bodies  of  troops,  were  sent  to  operate  on 
the  two  banks  of  the  Po,  and  to  prevent  provisions 
from  its  fertile  valley  being  introduced  into  Ra- 
venna. Their  efforts  were  marvellously  seconded 
by  a  sudden  failure  of  the  waters  of  the  river,  which 
caused  the  Gothic  flotilla,  prepared  for  the  trans- 
port of  provisions,  to  be  stranded  on  the  banks  and 
to  fall  a  prey  to  the  Eoman  soldiers.  In  a  very 
short  time  the  river  resumed  its  usual  course,  and 
navigable  once  more,  served  the  purposes  of  the 
besiegers  as  it  had  failed  to  serve  those  of  the 
besieged  ^     It  was  therefore  in  a  city  which  was 

^  In  his  reflections  on  this  event,  which  he  says  never 
happened  before  or  after,  Procopius  remarks  as  to  the  all- 
mastering  power  of  Fortune  :  drjXcoaiu  auriKpvs  noiovfxeuT]  on  8f) 
avTrj  TTpVTavevaei  dfxcpoTepois  to.  TrpdyfxaTa  (p.  260). 

Prankish  alliance  offered  to   Witigis,       369 

already  feeling  some  of  the  hardships  of  scarcity,  book  v. 
if  not  yet  of  actual  famine,  that   the  envoys  of  ^ L 

Belisarius  and  of  Theudibert  set  forth  their  com-      ^'^°' 


The  Franks  declared  that '  their  master  was  even  Argu- 
ments of 
now  sending  500,000  warriors  over  the  Alps,  whose  theFranks. 

hatchets  flying  through  the  air  would  soon  bury 
the  Eoman  army  in  one  heap  of  ruin.  Theudibert 
had  heard  with  sorrow  of  the  sufferings  of  his 
good  friends  the  Goths  at  the  hands  of  the 
Eomans,  the  natural  and  perfidious  enemy  of  all 
barbarian  nations.  He  offered  them  therefore 
victory  if  they  would  accept  his  companionship 
in  arms,  and  a  peaceable  division  of  the  land 
of  Italy  between  them  ;  or,  on  the  other  hand, 
if  they  were  mad  enough  to  choose  the  Eo- 
man alliance,  defeat,  ignominious  defeat,  to  be 
shared  with  their  bitterest  and  most  irreconcilable 

The    ambassadors    of   Belisarius   had   an   easy  Kepiy  of 
task  in  enlarging  on  the  faithlessness  of  the  nation  tines.  ^ 
of  Clovis. 

'Trust  not  for  freedom  to  the  Franks, 
They  have  a  king  who  buys  and  sells,' 

could  be  said  as  truly  hy  the  Greeks  in  the 
sixth  century  as  it  was  said  to  the  Greeks  in 
the  nineteenth.  The  present  depressed  condition 
of  the  Thuringians  and  Burgunclians  showed 
too  plainly  what  an  alliance  with  this  all-grasping 
nation  foreboded  to  those  who  were  foolish  enough 
to  enter   into   such  a  compact.       The  corpses  of 

VOL.  IV.  B  b 

370  The  Fall  of  Ravenna, 

BOOKv.  all  the  brave    Gothic  warriors  lately   slain  upon 

. '. 1   the  banks  of  the  Po  attested  the  peculiar  Frankish 

^^^'  manner  of  helping  distressed  allies.  What  god 
they  could  invoke,  or  what  pledge  of  fidelity 
they  could  give  that  had  not  already  been  for- 
sworn and  violated  by  them,  the  ambassadors 
could  not  conjecture.  This  last  proposition,  that 
the  Goths  should  share  all  their  lands  with  the 
Franks,  was  the  most  impudent  of  all  their  pro- 
ceedings. Let  Witigis  and  his  subjects  once  make 
trial  of  it,  and  they  would  find,  too  late,  that 
partnership  wnth  the  insatiable  Frank  meant  the 
loss  of  all  that  yet  remained  to  them. 
Witigis  When    the     ambassadors    had    finished     their 

accept  the  haraugues,  Witigis  conferred  with  the  leading 
termr^^^  Hicu  of  the  uatiou  as  to  their  proposals.  Would 
that  the  debates  of  this  Gothic  Witenagemote  had 
been  preserved  for  us!  We  can,  however,  only 
record  the  result  of  their  deliberations,  which  was, 
that  the  Emperor's  ofiers  should  be  accepted  and 
the  Frankish  envoys  dismissed.  Parleys  as  to 
the  terms  of  peace  followed ;  but  Belisarius,  less 
generous  or  more  wary  than  the  Gothic  King, 
when  similar  negotiations  were  going  forward  two 
years  previously  under  the  walls  of  Eome,  refused 
to  relax  by  a  single  sentinel  the  rigour  of  his 
blockade  of  Ravenna.  Ildiger  commanded  the 
flying  columns  which  manoeuvred  on  each  bank  of 
the  Po,  while  Vitalius  was  sent  into  Venetia  to 
force  or  persuade  the  cities  in  that  province  to 
resume  their  allegiance  to  the  Empire.      During 

Gothic  Magazines  burnt,  371 

this  pause  in  the  contest  the  large  magazines  of  book  v. 

provisions  collected  in  Kavenna  were  destroyed  by  — .* L 

fire.    In  the  Roman  army  it  was  generally  believed  conflCra- 
that   this   was  brought   about   by  the  bribes  ^f^otwc*^^ 
Belisarius.      The  Goths  diiffered  in  opinion  from  magazines. 
one  another,  some    attributing   the  disaster  to  a 
stroke  of  lightning  ^  others  to  domestic  treachery, 
in  connection  with  which  the  name  of  Matasuentha, 
the  ill-mated  wife  of  Witigis,  was  freely  mentioned. 
They  scarcely  knew  which  explanation  of  the  event 
should  fill  them  with  the   gloomier  forebodings, 
since  one  indicated  the  faithlessness  of  man,  the 
other  the  anger  of  Heaven. 

The  brave  and  loyal  Uraias,  hearing  of  the  Abortive 
blockade  of  Ravenna,  was  about  to  march  to  its  uraias  to 
assistance  with  4000  men,  partly  natives  of  Liguria,  Ravenna, 
partly  Goths  whom  he  had  drawn  from  garrison 
duty  in  the  various  fortresses  of  the  Cottian  Alps. 
Unfortunately  on  their  march  the  troops  heard 
that  the  garrisons  of  these  fortresses,  at  the  insti- 
gation of  Sisigis,  the  general  upon  the  Frankish 
frontier,  were  surrendering  themselves  wholesale 
to  a  guardsman  of  Belisarius  named  Thomas,  who 
had  been  sent  with  quite  a  small  body  of  troops  to 
receive  them  into  the  Imperial  allegiance.  Anxious 
for  the  safety  of  their  wives  and  children,  the 
soldiers  of  Uraias  insisted  on  retracing  their  steps 
westward.  They  were  too  late  :  John  and  Martin, 
who  were  still  stationed  in  the  upper  valley  of  the 
Po,  hurried  to  the  Cottian  forts  before  them,  took 
the   very  castles  in   which  the  families  of  these 

Bb  2 

372  The  Fall  of  Ravenna. 

BOOKv.  soldiers  were  lodged,  and  carried  them  into  cap- 
^°'  ^^'  tivity.  With  such  precious  pledges  in  the  hands 
^'^°'  of  the  Eomans;  the  barbarians  refused  to  fight 
against  them.  They  suddenly  deserted  the  stan- 
dards of  Uraias,  and  seeking  the  encampment  of 
John  begged  to  be  admitted  di^  foederati  into  the 
Imperial  service.  Baffled  and  powerless,  Uraias 
was  obliofed  to  retire  with  a  few  followers  into 
the  fastnesses  of  Liguria.  Thus  all  hope  of 
assistance  from  him  for  the  blockaded  city  was 
at  an  end. 

Embassy        About  this  time,  probably  early  in  the  year  540, 

from  Con-  n  r\  •  i       t-\  • 

stantino-    camc  two  scuators  from  (Jonstantuiople,  JJomnicus 
and  Maximus,  bearing  the  Emperor's  offer  of  terms 
of  peace.     These  terms  were  unexpectedly  favour- 
able to  the  Goths.     Witigis  was  to  be  allowed  to 
retain  the  title  of  King  and  half  the  royal  treasure, 
and  to  reign  over  all  the  rich  plains  to  the  north 
of  the  Po  ;    the  other  half  of  the  royal  treasure 
and  all  Italy  south  of  the  Po,  w^ith  Sicily,  were  to 
be  reunited  to  the  Empire.     Such  concessions,  at 
this  late  period  of  the  struggle,  might  well  seem 
almost  absurd  to  one  who  watched  the  fortune  of 
Eeasons     the  game  in  Italy  alone.     But  the  Emperor  knew 
favourable  wcll  the  othcr  and  terrible  dangers  which  threatened 
offered  to    his  domioions.     A  swaim  of  ferocious  Huns  were 
about  to  burst  upon  lUyria,  Macedon,  and  Thrace, 
extending  their  ravages  up  to  the  very  suburbs  of 
Constantinople  ^       Even    more    formidable    than 
these  transitory  marauders  was  the  more  deeply 
^  Sec  Procopius,  De  Bello  Persico,  ii.  4  (p.  167). 

Liberal  terms  offered  by  Jtcstinian.       373 
calculated     advance    of    the     Persian    potentate,  book  v. 

Ch   13 

Chosroes  was  moving  to  battle,  stirred  thereto  in L___ 

part  by  the  representations  of  Witigis,  in  part  by  ^^'^' 
his  own  hereditary  hatred  of  the  Empire:  and  in 
June  of  this  year  he  was  to  fall,  with  the  pitiless 
fury  of  an  Oriental  despot,  on  the  wealthy  and 
luxurious  city  of  Antioch.  Decidedly  Justinian 
had  good  reason  for  wishing  to  have  his  matchless 
general  and  as  many  as  possible  of  his  soldiers 
recalled  from  Italy.  Decidedly  he  was  right  in 
offering  easy  terms  to  the  Goths ;  and  Italy  might 
possibly  have  been  spared  some  centuries  of 
misery  could  those  terms  have  formed  the  basis  of 
a  peace. 

The  obstacle  came  not  from  the  Goths,  who  gave  Beiisarius 
a  joyful  assent  to  the  proposals  of  the  ambassadors,  his  master. 
It  came  from  Beiisarius,  who  had  set  his  heart  on 
ending  the  Italian  war  with  a  complete  and  dra- 
matic success,  and  on  leading  Witigis,  as  he  had 
already  led  Gelimer,  a  captive  to  the  feet  of  Jus- 
tinian. He  refused  to  be  any  party  to  the  proposed 
treaty ;  and  the  Goths,  fearing  some  stratagem, 
would  not  accept  it  without  his  counter-signa- 
ture. Murmurs  were  heard  in  the  tents  of  the 
Imperial  captains  against  the  presumption  of  the 
General  who  dared  to  disobey  the  orders  which 
proceeded  from  the  sacred  presence-chamber  of  the 
Emperor,  and  who  was  bent  on  prolonging  the  war 
for  sinister  purposes  of  his  own.  Knowing  that  Council 
these  injurious  reports  were  flying  about  the  camp, 
Beiisarius  called  a  council  of  war,  at  which  he  in- 

374  The  Fall  of  Ravenna. 

BOOKV.  vited  the  presence  of  the  ambassadors.  He  said 
,  "'  to  his  discontented  subordinates,  with  apparent 
^^^'  frankness,  'No  one  knows  better  than  myself  the 
great  part  which  chance  plays  in  war,  and  how 
a  cause  apparently  quite  hopeless  will  sometimes 
revive,  and  prove  after  all  victorious.  By  all  means 
let  us  take  the  best  possible  advice  in  debating  so 
important  a  subject  as  the  proposed  treaty.  Only 
one  thing  I  must  protest  against.  No  man  must 
hold  his  peace  now,  and  then  lie  in  wait  to  censure 
me  after  the  event.  Let  every  one  speak  his 
opinion  now,  on  the  question  whether  we  can  re- 
cover the  whole  of  Italy,  or  whether  it  is  wiser  to 
abandon  part  of  it  to  the  barbarians  ;  and,  having 
spoken  it,  let  him  stand  by  it  like  a  man/  Thus 
adjured,  the  generals  without  exception  stated  that 
they  thought  it  politic  to  let  the  treaty  of  peace  go 
forward,  upon  the  proposed  conditions.  Belisarius 
desired  them  to  sign  a  paper  to  that  effect,  and 
they  signed  it. 
Increasing       While  thesc  dcHberations  wxre  going  on  in  the 

famine  in  ,  .  . 

Eavenna.  Imperial  camp,  the  scarcity  was  growing  into 
famine  within  the  city.  Sore  pressed  by  hunger, 
yet  determined  not  to  surrender  unconditionally  to 
the  Emperor,  fearing,  above  all  things,  to  be  trans- 
ported from  their  own  beloved  Italy  to  the  distant 

The  Goths  and  uuknowu  Constantinople,  the  Goths  conceived 


makeBeii-  the  extraordinary  idea  of  offering  to  their  victor, 

perorof     to    Bclisarius,  the    Empire    of  the  West.      Even 

Witigis  supported  this  proposal,  and  besought  the 

great  General  to  accept  the  proffered  dignity.    The 

The  Goths  offer  the  diadem  to  Belisarius.    375 
scheme  had  a  certain  brilliant  audacity  about  it,  book  v. 

Ch.  13. 

and  was  the  most  striking  testimony  ever  offered  — '. — 1 
to  the  strategical  genius  of  Belisarius.  Yet  it  ^"^^^ 
probably  seemed  less  strange  and  (if  we  may  use 
the  word  by  anticipation)  less  romantic  to  contem- 
poraries than  it  does  to  us.  All  the  traditions  of 
the  Ostrogoths,  except  for  the  thirty  years  of 
Theodoric's  reign,  pointed  to  the  Empire  as  the 
natural  employer  of  armies  of  Gothic  foederatL 
Even  Theodoric,  in  his  mode  of  working  the 
machinery  of  the  state,  had  shown  himself  an 
Emperor  of  the  West  in  everything  but  the  name. 
A  Teutonic  kingdom  in  Roman  lands  was  still 
a  comparatively  new  and  untried  thing,  w^hile  an 
Empire  fought  for  by  Gothic  arms  was  a  familiar 

The  feelings  with  which  Belisarius  received  this  How  Beii- 

,.  ..  11IP  '11  sarins  re- 

startJmg  proposition  were  probabJy  oi  a  mingled  ceived  the 
kind.  As  Procopius  says,  'he  hated  the  name  of 
an  usurper  with  perfect  hatred,  and  had  bound 
himself  by  the  most  solemn  oaths  to  the  Emperor 
to  attempt  no  revolution  in  his  lifetime.'  He 
probably  looked  upon  himself  as  the  destined 
successor  of  his  master,  should  he  survive  Jus- 
tinian, and  he  knew  what  ruin  the  revolutionary 
attempts  upon  the  purple,  made  by  successful 
generals,  had  wrought  for  the  Empire.  On  the 
other  hand,  he  saw  that  a  feigned  compliance  with 
the  wishes  of  the  Goths  would  at  once  open  to 
him  the  gates  of  Ravenna,  and,  possibly,  the 
thought  was  not  altogether  absent  from  his  mind 

376  The  Fall  of  Ravenna. 

BOOKV.  that  it  might  be  desirable  at  any  moment  to  turn 
^"'  ^^'    that  feigned  compliance  into  reality. 
^^^'  In  order  to  keep  his  hands  clear,  he  ordered  the 

generals     gcnorals  of  the  party  which  still  called  itself  anti- 
disperse.     Bclisarian  to  disperse  in  various  directions  in  order 
to  obtain  provisions  for  the  army.     These  generals 
were  John  and  Bessas,  Narses  the  Less,  and  Ara- 
tius ;    and  they  were  accompanied  by  Athanasius, 
the  recently-appointed  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Italy  ^ 
Second       Before  they  went,  he  convoked  another  council  of 
of  war.       generals  and  ambassadors,  and  asked  them  what 
they  would  think  of  the  deed  if  he  succeeded  in 
saving  all  Italy  for  the  Empire  and  carrying  all 
the  Gothic  nobles,  with  their  treasures,  captive  to 
Constantinople.      They  replied  that  it  would  be  a 
deed  past  all  praise,  and  b^de  him  by  all  means 
to  accomplish  it  if  he  could.    He  then  sent  private 
messengers  to  the   Goths  offering  to  do  all  their 
The  Gothic  will.      The    Gothic    envoys   returned   with    their 
rentiyac-  vaguo  talk  of  peacc  for  the  multitude  and  their 
secret  proposals  for  Belisarius's  own  ear.     He  wil- 
lingly stipulated  that  the  persons  and  property  of 
the  Goths  should  be  held  harmless,  but  postponed 
till  after  the  entry  into  Ravenna,  the  solemn  oath 
(the  coronation-oath,  as   we  should   term  it),  by 
which  he  was  to  pledge  himself  to  reign  as  the 
impartial  ruler  of  Goths  and  Eomans  alike.     The 

^  It  Is  generally  supposed  that  Belisarius  only  played  with 
the  Goths  in  this  business  of  his  election :  but  unless  he  had 
some  thoughts  of  jpossiUy  accepting  their  offer,  I  do  not  see 
why  he  should  have  sent  these  officers  away. 

Entry  into  Ravenna.  377 

suspicioDS  of  the  barbarians  were  not  excited  even  book  v. 
by  this  postponement.      They  imagined  that   he      "' 
was  hungering  and  thirsting  for  empire,  and  never      ^^'^' 
supposed  that  he  himself  would  throw  any  diffi- 
culties in  the  way  of  winning  it. 

Of  all  the  many  dramatic  situations  in  the  life  Entry  into 


01  the  great  general — and  they  are  so  many  as  to 
excite  our  marvel  that  no  great  poet  has  based 
a  tragedy  on  his  story — the  most  dramatic  was 
surely  his  entry  into  Eavcnna  in  the  spring  of  540. 
The  Roman  fleet,  laden  with  corn  and  other  pro- 
visions, had  been  ordered  to  cast  anchor  in  the  port 
of  Ciassis.  Thus,  when  the  gates  were  opened  to 
admit  Belisarius,  he  brought  with  him  plenty  to  a 
famine-stricken  people.  Then  he  rode  through  the 
streets  of  the  impregnable  Queen  of  the  Lagoons, 
with  the  Gothic  ambassadors  by  his  side,  and  the 
all-observing  Procopius  in  his  train.  Much  did  the  Musings  of 
secretary  ponder,  as  he  rode,  on  one  of  his  favourite  ^  °^^"^' 
themes  of  meditation,  that  hidden  force — he  will 
not  call  it  Providence,  and  perhaps  dare  not  call  it 
Fate — which  loves  to  baffle  the  calculations  of  men, 
and  give  the  race  not  to  the  swift,  the  battle  not 
to  the  strong,  but  to  the  objects  of  its  own  ap- 
parently capricious  selection.  The  streets  were 
crowded  with  tall  and  martial  Goths,  far  surpass- 
ing in  number  and  size  the  Roman  army,  and 
through  them  marched  the  little  band  of  Beli- 
sarius, under-sized,  mean-looking  men,  but  con- 
querors. The  Goths,  still  confiding  in  what  the 
new  Emperor  of  the  West  would   do   for   them. 

378  The  Fall  of  Ravenna. 

BOOK  V.  felt  not  nor  admitted  the  shame  ;   but  the  quick 

Ch.  13 

Anger  of 
the  Gothic 

instinct  of  the  women  told  them  that  their  hus- 
bands were  disgraced  by  such  an  ending  to  the 
war.  They  spat  in  the  faces  of  the  barbarians, 
and,  pointing  to  the  insignificant-looking  men  who 
followed  the  ensigns  of  the  Senatus  Po^ulus  Que 
Bomanus,  '  Are  these  the  mighty  heroes,'  said 
they,  '  with  whose  deeds  you  have  terrified  us  ? 
Are  these  your  conquerors  1  Men  can  we  call 
you  no  longer,  who  have  been  beaten  by  champions 
such  as  these.' 
Beiisarius  The  cxact  time  when  Belisarius  dropped  the 
mask.  mask  and  let  the  barbarians  see  that  he  was  not 
their  Emperor,  but  still  only  the  general  of  Jus- 
tinian, is  not  clearly  indicated.  Probably  the 
process  of  disillusion  was  a.  gradual  one.  At  the 
moment  of  his  triumphal  entry  he  doubtless  al- 
lowed himself  to  be  saluted  as  Csesar,  but  any 
thoughts  which  he  may  have  entertained  of  keep- 
ing his  promise  to  the  Goths  and  actually  assuming 
the  purple  vanished. 

'  His  honour  rooted  in  dishonour  stood, 
And  faith  unfaithful,  kept  him  falsely  true.' 

The  city         On  one  point,  however,  he  did  keep  the  compact 

not  plun-  ^  ^  ^  ^ 

dered.  to  whicli  he  had  sworn.  There  was  no  plunder  of 
the  city,  and  the  Goths  were  allowed  to  retain  all 
their  private  property.  But  the  great  hoard  of 
the  kings,  stored  up  in  the  palace,  all  that  the 
wisdom  of  Theodoric  and  the  insatiate  avarice  of 
Theodahad  had  accumulated,  was  carried  away  to 
Constantinople.     Some  of  it  may  perchance  have 

Ravenna  cofnes  under  the  Emperors.       379 
remained  in  the  treasure-vaults  of  the  palace  of  book  v. 

Ch  13 

the  Eastern  Caesars  till  Baldwin  and  Dandolo  with  . 

their  Franks  and  Venetians,  the    soldiers  of  the      ^'^°* 
Fourth  Crusade,  wrenched  open  the  doors  of  those 
mysterious  chambers,  nearly  seven  centuries  after 
the  accession  of  Justinian.     Witigis  himself  was  Treatment 
treated  courteously,  hut  kept  for  the  present  in  and  nobles. 
ward,   till  he   could  be  taken  in  the   conqueror's 
train   to    Constantinople.      Some   of  his   greatest 
nobles    w^ere    selected    to   accompany   him.       The 
mass    of  the    Gothic   warriors,   at   least    such    of 
them  as  dwelt  south   of  the  Po^,   were  told   to 
return  to  their  own  lands.     The  Eoman  soldiers 
and  the  men  of  Eoman  extraction  thus  became 
actually  the  majority  in  the  former  capital  of  the 

In  this  way  did  the  strong  and  stately  city  of  Fortunes  of 

T^  •  ^  ^  p        -r»  Ravenna. 

Eavenna  come  again  under  the  sway  of  a  Eoman 
Csesar,  the  stronghold  of  whose  dominion  in  Italy 
it  was  destined  to  remain  for  two  centuries^,  till 
Aistolf  the  Lombard  in  752  reft  it  from  Byzan- 
tium, to  be  himself  despoiled  of  it  a  few  years 
later  by  Pepin  the  Frank. 

Most  of  the  other  cities  of  North-eastern   Italy  cities  of 
which  contained  Gothic  garrisons,  Treviso,  Cesena^ 

^  "Oo-oi   eVroy    HaSou    TTora/uoi)    aKrjvro,      'Evros    Seems    always    to 

mean  on  this  side  of  the  Po,  as  reckoned  from  Rome. 

^  Except  for  a  very  short  occupation  by  the  Lombard  King 
Liutprand  about  the  year  728. 

^  The  language  of  Procopius  as  to  the  time  of  the  surrender 
of  Cesena  is  not  quite  clear,  but  the  point  is  an  unimportant 

380  The  Fall  of  Ravenna, 

BOOKv.  and  many  others,  surrendered  at  once  to  the  Im- 

^°'  ^^'    perial  forces   on  hearing  of  the  fall  of  Ravenna. 

540-      Verona  and  Pavia  seem  to  have  been  the  only  cities 

of  any  importance   still  held  by  the   unsubdued 

iidibadat  Gothic  warriors.  In  Verona  the  command  was 
vested  in  a  brave  chief  named  Ildibad,  nephew  of 
Theudis,  King  of  the  Visigoths  in  Spain.  This  man 
refused  to  transfer  his  allegiance  to  the  Emperor, 
though  Belisarius,  by  detaining  his  children  cap- 
tives in  Ravenna,  had  it  in  his  power  to  put  sore 

Uraiasat  prcssure  upou  him.  In  Pavia  the  noble  Uraias, 
nephew  of  Witigis,  still  commanded. 

Offer  of  When  the  hope  that  Belisarius  would  play  an 

to  Uraias.  independent  part  as  Emperor  of  the  West  faded 
from  the  hearts  of  the  Gothic  warriors,  the  bravest 
of  them  flocked  to  Pavia  and  sought  an  audience 
with  Uraias.  With  tears  such  as  valiant  men 
may  shed,  they  thus  addressed  him:  '  Of  all  the 
evils  which  have  befallen  the  nation  of  the  Goths 
thou,  0  Uraias !  art  the  chief  cause,  through 
thy  very  worthiness.  For  that  uncle  of  thine,  so 
cowardly  and  so  unfortunate  in  war\  would  long 
ago  have  been  thrust  aside  by  us  from  the  throne, 
even  as  we  thrust  aside  Theodoric's  own  nephew 
Theodahad,  if  we  had  not  looked  with  admiration 
on  thy  prowess,  and  believed  that  thou  wert  in 

^    Ourojs  avavBpov  re   Kol  drvxr)   i^rj-yovfievov.      This  passage  is  one 

of  those  which  I  think  justify  us  in  looking  upon  Witigis  as 
not  only  a  blunderer  but  a  coward,  at  any  rate  in  the  later 
part  of  his  career.  I  suspect  that  the  worry  of  the  siege  of 
Rome  unnerved  him. 

Uraias  declines  the  Kingship,  381 

truth  at  the  helm  of  the  state,  leaving  only  the  book  v. 

.  Ch  13 

name    of  kingship   to   thine   uncle.     Now    is   our  '. 1 

good-nature  shown  to  have  been  folly,  and  the  ^^^' 
very  root  of  all  the  evils  that  have  come  upon  us. 
Hosts  of  our  best  and  bravest,  as  thou  know- 
est,  0  dear  Uraias  !  have  fallen  on  our  Italian 
battle-fields.  Our  proudest  nobles,  with  Witigis 
and  the  Gothic  hoard,  are  being  carried  off  to 
Constantinople  by  Belisarius.  Thou  and  we  alone 
remain,  a  feeble  and  miserable  remnant,  and  we 
too  shall  soon,  if  we  live,  share  the  same  fate. 
But  we  can  die,  0  Uraias  !  and  it  is  better  for  us 
to  die  than  to  be  carried  captive  with  our  wives 
and  our  little  ones  to  the  uttermost  ends  of  the 
earth.  Be  thou  our  leader,  and  we  shall  do  some- 
thing worthy  of  our  renown  before  we  find  a  grave 
in  Italy.' 

Uraias  replied,  that  he  too,  like  them,  preferred  Eefusai  of 
death  to  slavery,  but  that  the  kingship  he  would 
not  take,  since  he  would  seem  to  be  setting  him- 
self up  as  a  rival  to  his  uncle.  He  strongly 
advised  them  to  offer  it  to  Ildibad,  a  man  of 
bravery  and  might,  and  one  whose  relationship 
to  Theudis,  the  Visigothic  King,  might  at  this 
crisis  prove  serviceable  to  their  cause.  The  advice 
seemed  good  to  the  Gothic  warriors,  who  at  once 
repaired  to  Verona  and  invested  Ildibad  with  the  ' 
purple  robe  of  royalty  ^     Though    accepting   the 

^  'Q  6)7  rr]v  TTopcpvpav  nepi^aXovres.  The  letter  of  Cassiodorus 
(Var.  i.  2)  shows  that  this  is  not  a  mere  rhetorical  phrase,  but 
that  the  Gothic  kings  were  in  fact  clad  in  purple. 

382  The  Fall  of  Ravenna, 

BOOK  V.  kingly  office,  he  urged  his  new  subjects  not  yet  to 

__!LL_  abandon  all  hope  of  persuading  Belisarius  to  fulfil 

,,,.?'^°;      his  pliefhted  word  and  ascend  the  Western  throne 

Ildibad  . 

King.  by  their  assistance,  in  which  event  Ildibad  would 
willingly  return  into  a  private  station^.  One  more 
effort  accordingly  they  made  to  shake  the  loyalty 
Lastap-  of  their  conqueror.  All  Italy  knew  that  he  was 
Belisarius.  uuder  ordcrs  to  leave  Eavenna;  to  take  charge  of 
the  Persian  war,  said  some ;  accused  by  his  brother 
generals  of  treasonable  designs,  said  others.  There 
was  some  truth  in  both  assertions.  Justinian 
needed  Belisarius  on  the  banks  of  the  Euphrates, 
but  he  also  feared  him  in  the  palace  at  Eavenna. 
The  Gothic  envoys  appeared  in  the  presence  of 
Belisarius  :  they  reproached  him  for  his  former 
breach  of  faith  ;  they  upbraided  him  as  a  self-made 
slave,  who  did  not  blush  to  choose  the  condition  of 
a  lackey  of  Justinian  when  he  might,  in  all  the 
dignity  of  manhood,  reign  as  Emperor  of  the  West 
over  brave  and  loyal  warriors.  They  besought 
him  even  yet  to  retrace  his  steps.  Ildibad  would 
bring  his  new  purple  and  gladly  lay  it  at  the  feet 
of  the  monarch  of  the  Goths  and  Italians.  Ee- 
proaches  and  blandishments  were  alike  in  vain. 
The  Eoman  General  refused  to  strike  a  single 
stroke  for  Empire  in  the  lifetime  of  Justinian. 
The  Envoys  returned  to  Ildibad.     Belisarius,  in 

^  Ildibad's  accession-speech  in  Procopius  (p.  275)  is  vapid  and 
rhetorical,  a  strange  contrast  to  the  stirring  and  pathetic  words 
addressed  by  the  Gothic  nobles  to  Uraias.  I  cannot  but  enter- 
tain the  belief  that  these  at  least  are  truly  reported. 

Ildibad,  King  of  the  Goths,  383 

obedience  to  his  master's  orders,  quitted  Ravenna ;  book  v. 

Oh    1  o 

and  with  his  departure,  which  coincided  with  the  \ L 

end  of  the  fifth  year  of  the  war,  ended  the  first  act  ^^y'  54o. 
of  the  Byzantine  reconquest  of  Italy. 

At  this  point  also  we  take  our  final  leave  of  Retire- 
one  whose  name  has  been  of  continual  occurrence  Cassio- 
through  many  chapters  of  this  history,  the  late  official  life. 
Praetorian  Prefect,  Cassiodorus.  Since  the  elec- 
tion of  King  Witigis  he  had  not,  apparently, 
taken  any  conspicuous  part  in  public  afiairs. 
Amid  the  clash  of  arms  his  persuasive  voice  was 
silent  :  and  with  the  two  races,  Goth  and  Roman, 
exasperated  against  one  another  by  memories 
of  battle,  massacre,  and  the  privations  of  ter- 
rible sieges,  he  recognised  but  too  plainly  that 
the  labour  of  his  life  was  Avasted.  The  united 
commonwealth  of  Goths  and  Romans  was  a 
broken  bubble,  and  he  might  as  easily  call  up 
Theodoric  from  the  grave  as  recall  even  one  of 
the  days  of  that  golden  age  when  Theodoric 
was  king. 

Something,  however,  might  yet  be  done  to  save 
the  precious  inheritance  of  classical  antiquity  from 
the  waves  of  barbaric  invasion  which  were  now  too 
obviously  about  to  roll  over  Italy,  from  Byzan- 
tium's mercenaries,  the  Lombard  and  the  Herul,  as 
well  as  from  the  Frankish  neighbour  who  had 
learned  with  too  fatal  aptitude  the  road  across  the 
Alps.  This  service — and  it  was  the  greatest  he 
could  have  rendered  to  humanity — Cassiodorus  de- 
termined to  perform  while  he  passed  the  evening 

384  The  Fall  of  Ravenna. 

BOOKV.  of  his  life  in    monastic   seclusion   in   his   native 

^'  ^^'    Bruttii,  at  his  own  beloved  Scyllacium. 
Approxi-         It  was  probably  in  the  year  539  or  540  that  the 

mate  date  i    •  i  •  i  i  ... 

of  this  veteran  statesman  laid  aside  the  insignia  01  a 
Prsetorian  Prefect  and  assumed  the  garb  of  a 
monk.  The  chief  reason  for  choosing  the  earlier 
year,  and  for  supposing  Cassiodorus  not  to  have 
continued  till  the  bitter  end  in  the  service  of 
Witigis,  is  that  had  he  been  present  on  the 
memorable  dav  when  Belisarius  and  his  men 
entered  Eavenna,  he  would  probably  have  met 
and  conversed  with  Procopius.  In  that  case 
his  noble  character,  and  the  important  part 
which  he  had  played  for  a  generation  in  the 
Ostrogothic  monarchy,  would  surely  have  im- 
pressed themselves  on  the  mind  of  the  histo- 
rian, and  prevented  that  strange  omission  wdiich 
he  has  made  in  writing  so  fully  about  Theo- 
doric's  kingdom  and  never  mentioning  the  name 
of  Cassiodorus. 

Histrea-        In  any  event  the  late  chief  minister  was  close 

tise  on  the  , 

Soul.  upon  the  60th  year  01  his  age  when  he  retired  to 
Squillace.  His  mind  during  the  last  few  dreary 
years  had  been  ever  more  and  more  turning  to  the 
two  great  solaces  of  a  disappointed  man,  Literature 
a-nd  Eeligion.  After  he  had  completed  the  collec- 
tion of  his  Various  Epistles^  he  had,  upon  the 
earnest  entreaty  of  his  friends,  composed  a  short 
treatise  on  the  Nature  of  the  Soul.  The  philo- 
sophy of  this  treatise  is  not  new,  being  chiefly 
1  About  538  (?). 

Cassiodorus  on  the  SotcL  385 

derived  from  Plato  ^:  and  the  philology,  as  dis-  book  v. 
played  in  some  marvellous  derivations  at  the  — '. — L 
outset  of  the  treatise,  if  new,  is  not  true  2.  But 
there  are  some  striking  thoughts  in  this  little 
essay,  as,  for  instance,  on  the  ineffable  love  which 
the  soul  bears  to  her  dwelling-place  the  body, 
fearing  death  for  its  sake  though  herself  immortal, 
dreading  the  body's  pain  from  which  she  cannot 
herself  receive  any  injury.  But  the  most  interest- 
ing passage,  coming  from  so  old  and  astute  a 
statesman  as  Cassiodorus,  is  one  in  which  he 
naively  attempts  to  describe  the  outward  signs 
by  which  we  distinguish  evil  men  from  the  good. 

*  The  bad  man  s  countenance,  whatever  be  its  character- 
istics of  the 
natural  beauty,  always  has  a  cloud  resting  upon  it  ^.  wicked. 

In  the  midst  of  his  mirth  a  deep  and  secret  sadness 
is  always  waiting  to  take  possession  of  him,  and 
appears  on  his  countenance  when  he  deems  him- 
self unobserved.  His  eye  wanders  hither  and 
thither,  and  he  is  ever  on  the  watch  to  see  what 
others  think  of  him.  His  conversation  is  by  fits  and 
starts :  he  takes  up  one  subject  after  another  and 
leaves  his  narratives  unfinished  without  apparent 

^  Tlirough  Claudianus  Mamertus,  a  friend  of  Sidoiiius,  says 
Ebert  (i.  489). 

"^  Anima  is  derived  from  the  Greek  cimifjia,  '  bloodless,'  because 
the  soul  is  not  dependent  on  flesh  and  blood.  Animus  is  from 
tivefios,  '  wind,'  because  thought  is  as  swift  as  the  wind.  Mens 
is  from  fxrjvrj,  'the  moon,'  because,  though  exposed  to  various 
changes,  the  mind  eventually  returns  to  its  own  full-orbed  per- 
fection (p.  1282,  ed.  Migne). 

^  '  Malis  nubilus  vultus  est  in  qualibet  gratia  corporali  * 
(p.  1298). 

VOL.  IV.  C  C 

386  The  Fall  of  Ravenna. 

BOOK  V.  cause.  He  has  a  look  of  worry  and  pre-occupation 
^^'  ^^'  in  his  idlest  hours,  and  lives  in  perpetual  fear  when 
none  is  pursuing  him.  Seeking  greedily  for  all 
the  pleasures  of  life,  he  is  incurring  the  penalty  of 
eternal  death ;  and  endeavouring  to  prolong  his 
share  of  this  world's  light  he  is  preparing  for  him- 
self the  shades  of  eternal  night/ 

Was  Cassiodorus  when  he  drew  this  striking 
picture  describing  the  way  in  which  the  memory 
of  the  murdered  Amalasuntha  tormented  the  soul 
of  Theodahad  % 

Character-      '  The  good  man,  on  the  other  hand,  has  a  certain 

isticsofthe       ,  .  .         ,   . 

good.  calm  joyousness  in  his  countenance,  earned  by 
many  secret  tears.  His  face  is  pale  and  thin,  but 
suggests  the  idea  of  strength.  A  long  beard  gives 
venerableness  to  his  aspect :  he  is  very  clean, 
without  a  trace  of  foppery.  His  eyes  are  clear,  and 
brighten  naturally  when  he  addresses  you.  His 
voice  is  of  moderate  tone,  not  so  low  as  to  be  akin 
to  silence,  nor  swoln  into  the  harsh  bluster  of  the 
bully.  His  very  pace  is  ordered,  neither  hurrying 
nor  creeping.  He  does  not  watch  another's  eye 
to  see  how  it  is  regarding  him,  but  holds  simply 
straightforward  on  his  way.  Even  the  natural 
sweetness  of  his  breath  distinguishes  him  from  the 
evil  man,  who  seeks  to  hide  the  fumes  of  wine 
by  the  sickening  scent  of  artificial  perfumes  ^! 
The  time  was  now  come  for  Cassiodorus  openly  to 

^  Some  of  the  touches  in  this  ideal  portrait  suggest,  as  Ebert 
has  pointed  out  (i.  489),  an  approach  to  the  mediaeval  painters' 
manner  of  representing  saintliness. 

The  Monastery  of  Vivarium.  387 

enter  that  monastic  state  towards  which,  as  we  can  book  v. 
perceive  from  this  ideal  portraiture  of  a  good  man,    ^^'  ^^' 
his  own  aspirations  had  for  some  time  been  tend-  Cassio- 

■■■  ^  dorus  at 

ing.  Leaving  the  lagimes  of  Eavenna,  the  pine- wood  Squiiiace, 
and  the  palace  of  the  Ostrogothic  kings,  where  so 
many  of  the  hours  of  his  middle  life  had  been 
spent,  he  returned  to  his  first  love,  his  own.  ances- 
tral Scyllacium,  its  hills,  its  fish-ponds,  its  wide  out- 
look over  the  Ionian  sea.     Here  upon  his  patrimo- 
nial domain  he  founded  two  monasteries.      High  Hermitage 
up  on  the  hill,  and  perhaps  surrounded  by  theium. 
walls  of  the  older  and  deserted  city\  was  placed 
the  secluded  hermitage  of  Castellum,  destined  for 
those  who  preferred  the  solitary  life  of  the  rigid 
anchorite  to  the  more    social  atmosphere  of  the 

monastic  brotherhood.   The  latter  and  more  popular  Monastery 

of  Viva- 
type  ot  convent  was  represented  by  the  monastery  rium. 

of  Vivarium,  situated  by  the  little  river  Pellena, 
and  on  the  edge  of  the  fish-ponds  of  which  Cassio- 
dorus  has  already  given  us  so  picturesque  a  de- 
scription 2.  Here  the  old  statesman  erected  for 
the  monks,  who  soon  flocked  round  him,  a  building 
which,  though  not  luxurious,  was  better  supplied 
with  the  comforts  of  life  than  was  usual  with 
institutions  of  this  kind,  at  any  rate  in  the  first 
fervour  of  monasticism.     These  are  the  terms  in 

^  I  speak  doubtfully  because  the  topography  of  Squillace 
does  not  seem  to  have  been  yet  fully  elucidated.  Lenormant 
seems  to  prove  that  the  Roman  and  the  modern  city  are  prac- 
tically on  the  same  site,  but  that  the  Greek  city  was  at  some 

^  See  vol.  iii.  p.  317. 

C  C  2 

388  The  Fall  of  Ravenna. 

BOOKV.  which  Cassiodorus  himself  describes  the  place,  in  a 
"'        treatise  dedicated  to  his  monks  ^ : — 

'  The  very  situation  of  the  Vivarian  monastery 
invites  you  to  exercise  hospitality  towards  travellers 
and  the  poor.  There  you  have  well -watered 
gardens   and   the    streams    of  the   river   Pellena, 

The  abounding  in  fish,  close  beside  you.     A  modest  and 

useful  stream,  not  overwhelming  you  by  the 
multitude  of  its  waters,  but  on  the  other  hand 
never  running  dry,  it  is  ever  at  your  call  when 

The  fish-  needed  for  the  supply  of  your  gardens.  Here,  by 
God's  help,  we  have  made  in  the  mountain  caverns 
safe  receptacles  for  the  fish  which  you  may  catch 
from  the  stream.  In  these  they  can  swim  about  and 
feed  and  disport  themselves,  and  never  know  that 
they  are  captives,  till  the  time  comes  when  you 

The  baths,  rcquirc  them  for  your  food.  We  have  also  ordered 
baths  to  be  built,  suitably  prepared  for  those  who 
are  in  feeble  health ;  and  into  these  flows  the  fair 
transparent  stream,  good  alike  for  washing  and 
for  drinking.  We  hope  therefore  that  your  monas- 
tery will  be  sought  by  strangers  rather  than  that 
you  will  need  to  go  elsewhere  to  seek  delight  in 
strange  places.  But  all  these  things,  as  you  know, 
pertain  to  the  joys  of  the  present  life,  and  have 
nought  to  do  with  the  hope  of  the  future  which 
belongs  to  the  faithful.  Thus  placed  here,  let  us 
transfer  our  desires  to  those  things  which  shall 
cause  us  to  reign  there  with  Christ.' 

Again,  after  describing  in  attractive  terms  the 

^  De  Institutione  Divinarum  Litterarum,  cap.  xxix. 

The  book-room  of  the  Monastery,  389 

happy  labours  of  the  antiquarii  in  the  copying-  book  v. 
room  of  the  monastery,  he  goes  on  to  speak  of  the    ^^'  ^^' 
permitted  luxury  of  comely  book-binding,  and  of 
his   mechanical    contrivances   for   promoting    the 
regular  employment  of  the  monastic  day.     *  To  Book-bind- 
these   we   have   also    added   workmen   skilled   in 
covering  the  codices,  in  order  that  the  glory  of  the 
sacred  books  may  be  decked  with  robes  of  fitting 
beauty.     Herein  we  do  in  some  sort  imitate  that 
householder  in  our  Lord's  parable  who,  when  he 
had  asked  the  guests  to  his  supper,  desired  that 
they  should  be  clothed  in  wedding  garments.     By 
these  workmen  we  have  caused  several  kinds  of 
binding  to  be  all  represented  in  one  codex  \  in 
order  that  the  man  of  taste  may  choose  that  form 
of  covering  which  pleases  him  best.     We  have  also  Mechani- 
prepared   for  your   nocturnal   studies  mechanical  °^  ^^^^' 
lamps,  self-trimming  and  self-supplied  with  oil,  so 
that  they  burn  brightly  without  any  human  assist- 
ance.    And  in  order  that  the  division  of  the  hours  Sun-diai. 
of  the  day,  so  advantageous  to  the  human  race, 
may  not  pass  unobserved  by  you,  I  have  caused 
one  measurer  of  time  to  be  constructed  in  which 
the   indication  is  made    by  the   sun's   rays,    and 
another,  worked  by  water,  which  night  and  day  Water- 
marks regularly  the  passage  of  the  hours.     This  is 
also  of  use  in  cloudy  days,  when  the  inherent  force 

*  'Quibus  multiplices  species  facturarum  in  uno  codice  de- 
pictas  (ni  fallor)  decenter  expressimus '  (De  Inst.  Div.  Lit- 
terarum,  cap.  xxx).  Apparently  the  different  bindings  were 
all  represented  by  facsimiles  in  this  one  codex. 

390  The  Fall  of  Ravenna, 

BOOK  V.  of  water  accomplishes  wliat  the  fiery  energy  of  the 
L  sun  fails  to  perform.      Thus  do  we  make  the  two 

most  opposite    elements,   fire   and   water,   concur 

harmoniously  for  the  same  purpose/ 
Themonas-      From  thoso  fow  passasTes  it  will  be  seen  what 

tery  to  be  ..... 

atheoiogi-  was  the  spirit  in  which  Cassiodorus  founded  his 

cal  school.  .  .     . 

monastery  of  vivarium.  Religion  and  learning 
were  to  be  the  two  poles  upon  which  the  daily 
life  of  the  community  revolved.  He  himself  tells 
us  ^  that  he  had  earnestly  striven  to  persuade  Pope 
Agapetus  to  found  a  great  theological  school  at 
Home,  like  those  which  were  then  flourishing  at 
Alexandria  and  Nisibis  2.  The  wars  and  tumults 
which  had  recently  afilicted  the  kingdom  of  Italy 
made  the  fulfilment  of  this  design  impossible ;  and 
Cassiodorus  thereupon  resolved  that  his  own  retire- 
ment from  the  field  of  political  life  should  be  the 
commencement  of  a  vigorous  and  sustained  eflbrt 
to  stem  the  tide  of  ignorance  and  barbarism  which 
was  flowing  over  Italy.  Hitherto  the  monk  re- 
tiring from  the  world  had  been  too  much  incHned 
to  think  only  of  the  salvation  of  his  own  individual 
soul.  Long  hours  of  mystic  musing  had  filled  up 
the  day  of  the  Egyptian  anchorite.  Augustine 
and  Cassian,  men  so   widely  divergent   in   their 

^  In  the  Preface  to  the  Institutio  Divinarum  Litterarum. 

^  '  Sicut  apud  Alexandriam  multo  tempore  fuisse  traditur 
institutum,  nunc  etiam  in  Nisibi  Civitate  ah  Hehraeis  sedulo 
fertur  exponi.'  This  hint  about  a  recently  established  Rab- 
binical school  at  Nisibis  (within  the  limits  of  the  Persian 
empire)  is  of  great  interest,  especially  in  connection  with  the 
origin  of  Mohammedanism. 

The  Monastery  a  literary  workshop,       391 

theological  teaching,  had  each  contributed  some-  book  v. 
thing  towards  the   introduction  of  healthy  work  — : — L 
into  the  routine  of  the  monastic  life  ;  and  Bene- 
dict, with  whose  life  and  career  we  shall  soon  have 
to  concern  ourselves  in  greater  detail,  had  wisely- 
ordained  in  his  rule  that  a  considerable  part  of 
the  day  should  be  devoted  to  actual  toil.    Still,  all 
this  had  reference  only  to  manual  labour.     It  was  Cassiodo- 
the  glory  of  Cassiodorus  that  he,  first  and  pre-  the  monas- 
eminently,  insisted  on  the  expediency  of  including  of^tei^^ 
intellectual  labour  in  the  sphere  of  monastic  duties^  labour. 
Some  monks,  he  freely  admitted,  would  never  be 
at  home  in  the  cloister  library,  and  might  better 
devote  their  energies  to  the  cloister  garden.     But 
there  were  others   who  only  needed  training  to 
make  them    apt  scholars   in   divine   and   human 
learning,  and  this  training  he  set  himself  to  give 
them.     This   thought — may   we  not  say  this  di- 
vinely suggested  thought  ? — in  the  mind  of  Cassio- 
dorus was  one  of  infinite  importance  to  the  human 
race.      Here,   on   the   one    hand,    were   the   vast 
armies  of  monks,  whom  both  the  unsettled  state  of 
the  times  and  the  religious  ideas  of  the  age  w^ere 
driving   irresistibly   into   the  cloister ;   and   who, 
when  immured  there  with  only  theology  to  occupy 

^  This  is  well  brought  out  by  Franz  (M.  A.  Cass.  Senator, 
p.  42)  :  '  Das  Verdienst,  zuerst  die  Pflege  der  Wissenschaften  in 
den  Bereich  der  Aufgaben  des  klosterlichen  Lebens  aufge- 
nommen  zu  haben,  kann  man  mit  vollem  Eechte  fiir  Cassio- 
dorius  in  Anspruch  nehmen.'  Franz  has  drawn  up  an  in- 
teresting imaginary  catalogue  of  the  Library  at  Vivarium  from 
the  hints  furnished  by  the  works  of  Cassiodorus. 

392  The  Fall  of  Ravenna. 

EOOK  V.  their  minds,  became,  as  the  great  cities  of  the  East 
^"'  ^^'    knew   too   well,    preachers    of    discord   and   mad 
fanaticism.     Here,  on  the   other  hand,  were    the 
accumulated   stores   of    two    thousand    years    of 
literature,    sacred   and   profane,   the    writings    of 
Hebrew  prophets,  Greek  philosophers,  Latin  rhe- 
toricians, perishing  for  want  of  men  at  leisure  to 
transcribe   them.       The   luxurious    Koman   noble 
with  his  slave-amanuenses  multiplying  copies  of 
his  favourite  authors  for  his  own  and  his  friends' 
libraries,  was  an  almost  extinct  existence.     With 
every  movement  of  barbarian  troops  over  Italy, 
whether  those  barbarians  called   themselves  the 
men  of  Witigis  or  of  Justinian,  some  towns  were 
being   sacked,    some    precious    manuscripts    were 
perishing  from  the  world.  .   Cassiodorus  perceived 
that  the  boundless,  the  often  wearisome    leisure 
of  the  convent  might  be  profitably  spent  in  ar- 
resting this  work  of  denudation,  in  preserving  for 
future  ages  the  intellectual  treasure  which  must 
otherwise   have   inevitably   perished.      That   this 
was  one  of  the  great  services  rendered  by  monas- 
ticism  to  the  human   race,  the   most  superficial 
student  of  history  has  learned :    but  not  all  who 
have  learned  it  know  that  the  monk's  first  decided 
impulse  in  this  direction  was  derived  from  Theo- 
doric's  minister  Cassiodorus. 
Cassio-  The  veteran  statesman  seems  to  have   wisely 

dorus  not        i  •         i     /» 

Abbot.  abstamed  from  makmg  himself  actual  Abbot  of 
either  of  his  two  monasteries.  To  have  done  so 
would   have   plunged   him   into   a   sea   of   petty 


Writings  of  the  old  age  of  Cassiodortts.    393 

administrative   details   and   prevented   him   from  book  v. 
thinking  out  his  schemes  for  the  instruction   of   ^^'  ^^' 
the  men  who  had  gathered  round  him^ 

Cassiodorus   (as  has  been   said)    was   probably  writings 
about  sixty  years  of  age  when  he  retired  from  dorus  in 
Eavenna  and  when  this  'Indian  summer'  of  his 
life,  so  beautiful  and  so  full  of  fruit  for  humanity, 
began.     His  own  writings   after   this   time    were 
copious,  and  though  they  have  long  since  ceased 
to  have  any  scientific  value,  they  are  interesting 
as   showing   the  many-sided,    encyclopsediac   cha- 
racter of  the  attainments  of  him  who  had  been 
all  his  life  a  busy  official.     A  voluminous  com-  Commen 
mentary  on  the  Psalms  was  the  work  on  which  Psaims 
he  probably  prided  himself  the  most,  and  which 
is  now  the  most  absolutely  useless.     In  the  so-  Histona 
called    '  Historia   Tripartita,'    he   and    his    friend   "^^^ 
Epiphanius   wove   together,    somewhat   clumsily, 
into    a   single   narrative    the    three    histories    of 
Church  affairs  from  the  Conversion  of  Constantino 
to  the  days  of  Theodosius  II.  given  by  Socrates, 
Sozomen,  and  Theodoret.     In  the  '  Complexiones'  Compiex- 


^  In  the  De  Institutione  (cap.  xxxii)  he  addresses  the  abbots 
Chalcedonius  and  Geruntius,  apparently  the  heads  of  the  two 
convents  of  Castellum  and  Vivarium.  The  description  which 
is  often  appended  to  the  name  of  Cassiodorus,  '  Abbot  of  Viviers,' 
is  doubly  incorrect.  He  was  not  an  abbot ;  and  there  is  no 
conceivable  reason  for  giving  the  French  form  of  the  name  of 
his  favourite  monastery.  Probably  the  second  mistake  has 
arisen  from  the  fact  that  Ste.  Marthe's  Life  of  Cassiodorus, 
written  in  French  near  the  end  of  the  seventeenth  century, 
was  the  book  by  which,  a  hundred  years  ago,  he  was  best 
known  to  the  world. 

394  The  Fall  of  Ravenna. 

BOOKV.  he  comments  upon  the  Epistles,  the  Acts  of  the 
^'  '  Apostles,  and  the  Apocalypse  :  and  here  it  may  be 
remarked  in  passing,  that  he  includes  the  Epistle 
to  the  Hebrews  among  the  writings  of  the  Apostle 
Paul,  apparently  without  a  suspicion  that  this  had 
not  always  been  the  received  view  in  the  Eoman 

Deinsti-    Church.     In  his  book  *De  lustitutionc  Diviuarum 

tutione  j      r»  i   •    i  •  i 

Divinarum  Littcrarum,     irom    which    some    quotations   have 

rum.         already   been   made,    he   gives   his    monks    some 

valuable  hints  how  to  study  and  how  to  transcribe 

the    Holy    Scriptures   and   the   writings    of    the 

Fathers.       Some  precepts  for   the   regulation   of 

their  daily  life  are  also  included  herein,  and  upon 

the  whole  the  book  seems  to  approach  nearer  to 

the  character  of  the  Eule  of  Cassiodorus^  than  anv 

DeArtibus  other  that  he  has  composed.     In  the  'De.  Artibus 

piinisiibe-  ac  Discipliuis  liberalium  Litterarum'  he  treats  of 

terarum.     the  sevcu  liberal  arts,  which  are  Grammar,  Ehe- 

toric,  Dialectic,  Arithmetic,  Music,  Geometry,  and 

Astronomy.     It  is  characteristic  of  the  writer  that 

Ehetoric  and  Dialectic,  the  two  great  weapons  in 

the  armoury  of  a  Eoman  official,  are  treated  of  at 

considerable  length,  while  of  the  other  five  arts 

only  the  slenderest  outline  is  furnished. 

De  Ortho-       Lastly,  when  the  veteran  statesman  had  already 

(written     rcachcd  the  ninety-third  year  of  his  age,  he  com- 

*  posed  for  his  faithful  monks  a  somewhat  lengthy 

^  Why  may  we  not  say  '  Regula  Sancti  Cassiodori '  ?  It  is 
a  mystery  why  so  excellent  a  man,  of  orthodox  creed  and  one 
of  the  founders  of  the  monastic  system,  should  not  have  been 
deemed  worthy  of  canonisation. 

Treatise  on  Orthography.  395 

treatise  on  Orthography.  They  said  to  him,  '  What  book  v. 

does  it  profit  us  to  know  what  the  ancients  wrote  \ L 

or  what  your  sagacity  has  added  thereto,  if  we  are 
entirely  ignorant  how  we  ought  to  write  these 
things,  and  through  want  of  acquaintance  with 
spelling  cannot  accurately  reproduce  what  we 
read  in  our  own  speech  % '  He  accordingly  collected 
for  their  benefit  the  precepts  of  ten  grammarians, 
ending  with  his  contemporary  Priscian\  as  to  the 
art  of  orthography.  One  of  the  greatest  dif- 
ficulties even  of  fairly  educated  Komans  at  that 
day  seems  to  have  been  to  distinguish  in  writing 
between  the  two  letters  b  and  v,  which  were  alike 
in  sound.  This  difficulty,  which  is  abundantly 
illustrated  by  the  errors  in  inscriptions  in  the 
Imperial  age,  is  strenuously  grappled  with  by 
Cassiodorus,  or  rather  by  the  authors  from  whom 
he  quotes,  and  who  give  long  and  elaborate  rules 
to  prevent  the  student  from  spelling  lihero  with  a 
V,  or  navigo  with  a  b. 

Amid  these   literary   labours,    in   the  holy  se- End  of  his 


elusion  of  Squillace,  we  may  suppose  Cassiodorus 
to  have  died,  having  nearly  completed  a  century 
of  life.  Even  in  573,  when  he  wrote  his  treatise 
on  Orthography,  he  had  already  long  overpassed 
the  limit  of  time  prescribed  for  the  present  volume. 
It  was  then  twenty  years  after  the  final  overthrow 
of  the  Ostrogothic  monarchy.     The  Lombards  had 

^  'Ex  Prisciano  grammatico,  qui  nostro  tempore  Constan- 
tinopoli  doctor  fuit  ....  ista  collecta  sunt '  (cf.  vol.  iii.  pp. 

396  The  Fall  of  Ravenna, 

BOOK  V.  been  in  Italy  five  years.  Narses  was  dead,  Alboin 
__!li_l  was  dead,  Justinian's  successor  had  been  for  eight 
years  upon  the  throne.  Yet  still  the  brave  and 
patient  old  man,  who  had  once  been  the  chief 
minister  of  a  mighty  realm,  toiled  on  at  his  self- 
imposed  task.  The  folly  of  his  countrymen,  the 
hopelessly  adverse  current  of  events,  had  pre- 
vented him  from  building  up  the  kingdom  of 
Italy :  they  could  not  prevent  him  from  conferring 
a  priceless  gift  on  mankind  by  rescuing  the 
literature  of  Eome  from  the  barbarians  for  the 
benefit  of  those  barbarians'  progeny. 




Sources : — 
Procopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  iii.  i  ;  De  Bello  Persico,  BOOK  V. 
i.  24-25  ;  Aneedota  (Hist.  Arcana),  1-3.  ^^-  i^- 

Joannes  Lydus,  De  Magistratibus,  iii.  57-69.  540. 

The  year  540  was  a  memorable  one  for  the  Fail  of 
monarcliy  of  Justinian,  both  by  its  disasters  and  its 
triumphs.  In  June  of  that  year,  not  many  weeks 
after  the  fall  of  Eavenna,  the  troops  of  Chosroes 
entered  Antioch.  Heavily  had  the  citizens  of  that 
fair  and  luxurious  city,  for  near  three  centuries  the 
inviolate  capital  of  Syria,  the  place  where  *the 
disciples  were  first  called  Christians/  to  pay  for 
the  taunts  and  gibes  which,  confiding  in  the 
strength  of  their  walls,  they  had  levelled  at  the 
haughty  King  of  the  fire-worshippers.  Men, 
women,  and  children  were  mixed  in  one  pro- 
miscuous carnage;  long  and  stately  streets  were 
turned  into  smoking  ruins;  the  sad  remnant  of 
the  population  which  had  laughed  at  Julian  and 
rebelled  against  Theodosius  was  carried  away 
into  captivity  beyond  the  Euphrates,  beyond  the 
Tigris,  and  there  in  the  new  city  of  Chosro- 
antiocheia  pined  in  vain  for  the  groves  of  Daphne 

398  Affairs  at  Constantinople. 

BOOK  V.  and  the  streams  of  Orontes,  themselves  the  living 
"'        monuments  of  their  tyrant's  triumph. 

^'^°*  But,  also  in  the  same  year,  and  very   shortly 

Beiisarius  after  thoso  terrible  tidings  reached  Constantinople, 
stantino-  the  ships  bearing  Beiisarius  with  his  captives  and 
^  ^'  the  Gothic  hoard  cast  anchor  in  the  Golden  Horn. 

There  was  no  regular  triumph,  as  there  had  been 
when  the  Vandal  King  was  led  through  the 
streets  of  the  City.  The  jealous  timidity  of  the 
Emperor  was  aroused,  and  he  feared  to  grant  the 
soldiers  and  the  populace  so  tempting  an  oppor- 
tunity for  shouting  'Belisarie  Imperator  tu  Vincas,' 
and  placing  the  brilliant  General  on  the  throne  of 
the  studious  and  secluded  monarch. 
The  Gothic      But  though  the  formal  pageant  was  withheld, 

captives  in 

Constanti-  uouo  the  Icss  must  the  day  when  the  successor 
of  Theodoric  prostrated  himself  in  the  purple 
presence-chamber  of  the  Caesars  have  been  felt 
as  a  real  triumph  for  Beiisarius.  Then  might 
the  Byzantines  see  Witigis  and  his  wife,  the 
grand-daughter  of  the  great  Amal,  followed  by  a 
long  train  of  Gothic  warriors  whose  stately  frames 
and  noble  countenances  filled  even  the  exacting 
Justinian  with  admiration.  With  them  came  the 
children  of  the  gallant  Ildibad,  unwilling  hostages 
on  behalf  of  the  newly-crowned  King.  The 
vessels  of  gold  and  silver,  and  all  the  ponderous 
magnificence  of  the  great  Gothic  hoard,  were  ex- 
hibited to  the  wondering  Senators,  though  not  to 
the  multitudes  outside  the  palace.  Then  Witigis 
having  made  his  prostration  was  raised  by   the 

Witigis  at  Constantinople.  399 

Emperor    and    received    the    title    of   Patrician,  book  v. 
After   he   had   spent   two   years    at    the    capital,    ^^'  ^^' 
honoured  by  the  friendship  of  the  Emperor  S  the  ^^^!^V^ 
old  Gothic  King  died.     A  man   apparently   who      542- 
in  his  younger  and  hungrier  days  had  done  the 
State   some    service ;    but  when  his   countrymen 
gave  him  a  palace  and  a  crown  and  a  royal  bride 
as  rewards  for  the  deliverance  which  they  expected 
at  his  hands,  he  replied,  by   his   acts    or   rather 
by   his    utter   absence    of  acts,    in   the  words   of 
Horace's  wealthy  soldier 

'  Let  him  fight  battles  who  has  lost  his  all  ^.' 

His  young  wife,  Matasuentha,  soon  after  his  death  Second 
married  Germanus,  at  that  time  the  favourite  of  Sa! 
nephew  of  Justinian.  What  mattered  to  her  the 
ruin  of  her  people  and  the  downfall  of  the  edifice 
erected  by  the  wise  patience  of  her  illustrious 
grandfather  1  She  had  seen  Constantinople,  that 
Paradise  of  all  degenerate  Teutons,  she  had  been 
able  to  copy  the  dresses  of  the  crowned  circus- 
dancer  Theodora,  she  was  even  admitted  into  the 
family  of  the  Dardanian  peasants  who  swayed  the 
destinies  of  the  Empire. 

As  for  Belisarius   himself,  the   man   who   had 

^  'Perductum  Vitiges  [lege  Vitigem]  Constantinopolim  patricii 
honore  donavit :  ubi  plus  biennio  demoratus  imperatorisque  in 
affectu  conjunctus,  rebus  excessit  humanis '  (Jordanes,  De  Eeb. 
Get.  Ix). 
2  ' "  I,  bone,  quo  virtus  tua  te  vocat,  i  pede  fausto, 

Grandia  laturus  meritorum  praemia.     Quid  stas?" 
Post  haec  ille  catus  quantumvis  rusticus,  "Ibit, 
Ibit  eo,  quo  vis,  qui  zonam   perdidit,"  inquit.' 

(Horace,  Epist.  ii.  2.  37-40.) 

400  Affairs  at  Constantinople, 

BOOK  V.  brought  two  kings  to  the  footstool  of  Justinian ; 
^'        who  had  subdued  the  two  races  of  most  terrible 

Eect'^tion  ^^^^^^wu  in  the  wars  of  the  preceding  century,  the 
of  Beiisa-    Qoths  and  the  Vandals :  who  had  asrain,  as  it  seemed, 

nusbythe  ^       ^  o         '  ' 

people.  united  to  the  Empire  its  severed  Western  portion, — 
his  name  and  fame  were  in  the  mouths  of  all  men. 
Though  the  well-earned  triumph  had  been  denied 
him,  every  day  that  he  showed  himself  in  the 
streets  of  Constantinople  was  in  fact  a  triumph. 
It  was  a  pleasure  of  which  the  Byzantines  never 
tired,  to  see  him  ride  through  the  city  from  his 
palace  to  the  Agora.  Before  him  went  troops  of 
tall  Vandals  and  Goths,  of  swarthy  Moors  the 
wiry  sons  of  the  desert.  All  had  at  one  time  or 
another  felt  his  conquering  sword,  yet  all  delighted 
to  sound  his  praises.  Behind  him  rode  some  of 
his  own  domestic  body-guard,  itself  a  little  army 

His  body-  of    7000    men    when   all    were    mustered ;    each 


horse  a  stately  charger,  each  man  nobly  born  and 
of  noble  aspect,  and  one  who  had  done  great  deeds 
fighting  in  the  foremost  ranks  with  the  enemy. 
In  the  course  of  this  history  we  have  heard  con- 
tinually of  the  exploits  performed  by  this  *  spear- 
man ^^  or  that  'shield-bearer 2'  of  Belisarius.  No 
wonder  that  the  astonished  Senators  of  Eome  had 
said,  '  One  household  alone  has  destroyed  the 
kingdom  of  Theodoric,'  when  they  marked  the 
great  part  played  by  the  body-guard  of  the  General, 
in  the  world-famous  defence  of  Rome  2.  ^ 

^   dopv(f)6pos.  2   v7ra(rm(TTr]s. 

^  'Pco fxaiau  re  ol  npeo-^vTepoi,  rjvLKa   rrpoi  VorOoiv  TvokiopKovpLCVOi  ra 

The  central  fiQ-ure  of  this  brilliant  cavalcade,  book  v. 

^  Ch.14. 

Glory  of  Belisarius.  401 

figure  of  this  brilliant  cavalcade, 
Belisarius  himself,  was  of  mighty  stature,  with 
well-proportioned   limbs    and    a    countenance    of  ^  p^^^^,' 
manly  beauty.     Though,  as  we  have  seen,  he  had  ^J)^^^^^^^, 
not  the  power  of  attaching;  to  himself  the  loyal  ^f  ^eiisa- 

y  ^  «^        rius. 

devotion  of  his  officers  of  highest  rank,  his  affa- 
bility with  the  multitude,  his  tender  care  over 
the  common  soldier,  even  his  desire  to  mitigate 
the  horrors  of  war  for  the  peasants  of  the  invaded 
lands,  were  the  theme  of  universal  praise.  He 
visited  his  wounded  soldiers,  doing  all  that  money 
could  do  to  assuage  their  sufferings.  The  suc- 
cessful champions  received  from  his  own  hand 
armlets  of  costly  metal,  or  chains  of  gold  or  silver. 
If  a  brave  but  needy  warrior  had  lost  his  horse 
or  his  bow  in  the  combat,  it  was  from  the  private 
stores  of  the  General  that  the  loss  was  supplied. 
No  soldier,  where  Belisarius  commanded,  was 
permitted  to  straggle  from  the  high  road  and 
tread  down  the  growing  crops  of  grass  or  of  corn. 
Even  the  fruit  hanging  ripe  from  the  trees  was 
safe  from  depredation  when  he  marched  past  with 
his  men.  All  provisions  were  paid  for  on  a 
liberal  scale,  and  thus,  like  our  own  Wellington 
on  his  march  from  the  Pyrenees  to  Paris,  he  made 
even  the  greed  of  the  peasant  the  most  effectual 
helper  of  his  commissariat. 

His  military  character,  as  it  had  thus  far  re- 

noiovfieva  Iv  rals  rov  noXe'fxov  ^vfx^oXals  €/3\f77oi/,  eV  Oavfiari  fieyaXca 
TToiovfxevoL  dvecpdeyyovTO  cos  otKia  fiia  ttjv  Qevdepi^ov  diivafxiv  xaraAvfi 
(De  Bello  Gotthico,  iii.  i  ;  p.  283). 

VOL.  IV.  D  d 

402  Affairs  at  Constantinople. 

BOOK  V.  vealed  itself,  has  been  sufficiently  indicated  by  his 

-^ L  deeds.      Its    one    distinguishing   quality   was   re- 

Si^  "^ua-  sourcefulness.  Nothing  seemed  to  daunt  or  perplex 
lities.  him;  and  whatever  move  his  antagonist  might 
make,  he  was  always  ready  with  the  reply.  He 
was  bold  to  the  very  verge  of  rashness,  when  only 
by  audacity  could  the  game  be  won ;  but  when 
time  was  on  his  side,  he  could  delay  like  Fabius 
himself.  Strong,  and  even  terrible,  when  stern- 
ness was  required,  yet  with  a  disposition  naturally 
sympathetic,  temperate  at  the  banquet,  for  '  no 
man  ever  saw  Behsarius  intoxicated,'  chaste  in 
morals  and  faithful  to  his  wedded  wife  through 
all  the  licence  of  a  camp,  he  anticipates,  in  some 
features  of  his  character,  the  ideals  of  knight 
errantry  and  Christian  soldiership,  the  Sir  Gala- 
had and  the  Bayard  of  chivalry,  the  Gustavus 
and  the  Havelock  of  the  modern  age. 
The  worm       Such  was  Bclisarius  in  the  midsummer  of  his 

at  the  root.  i  i  •  •      i 

greatness  and  renown,  at  the  thirty-sixth  year 
of  his  age,  a  year  younger  than  Napoleon  at 
Austerlitz,  four  years  older  than  Hannibal  at 
Cannae  \     Unfortunately,  the  happiness  of  his  lot 

Compara-  ^  On  casting  the  horoscope,  retrospectively,  of  eight  of  the 
ive  ages  greatest  generals  of  ancient  and  modern  times  (Alexander, 
generals.  Hannibal,  Csesar,  Belisarius,  Marlborough,  Frederick,  Napoleon, 
and  Wellington),  I  find  most  accordance  between  those  of  lla7i- 
nibal,  Belisarius,  and  Najpoleon.  All  of  these  three  men  did 
their  greatest  deeds  before  they  were  forty,  or,  to  define  the  age 
more  closely,  between  twenty-five  and  thirty-seven.  After  the 
latter  age  all  three  seem  to  lose  their  vigour,  or  at  any  rate 
their  luck.  Zama  in  the  forty-seventh  year  of  Hannibal  is  an 
exact  pendant  to  Waterloo  in  the  forty-seventh  year  of  Napo- 

Domestic  unhappiness  of  Belisarius,        403 

was  only  in  outward  seeming.     Even   while   he  book  v. 

strode  through  the  Agora  of  Constantinople,  fol-  _2l !_ 

lowed  by  the  yellow-haired  giants  from  Carthage 
or  Eavenna,  his  heart  was  brooding  sadly  over 
the  thought  that  the  wife  whom  he  loved  with 
such  passionate  devotion  no  longer  cared  for  him, 
and  that  all  her  affection  seemed  to  be  reserved 
for  a  shaven  monk  at  Ephesus. 

The  whole  story  of  the  infidelities  of  Antonina,  infidelities 
told  with  a  cruel  zest  in  the  Anecdota  of  Pro-  nina. 
copius,  need  not  be  repeated  here.  The  back- 
stairs-gossip of  a  palace  does  not  become  worthy 
material  for  history,  because  it  happens  to  relate 
to  the  wrongs  of  a  warrior  and  a  statesman.  It 
is  enough  to  say  that  the  wife  of  Belisarius, 
though  she  had  already  reached  or  passed  middle 
life^,  unmindful  of  her  conjugal  duty  was  passion- 

leon,  and  corresponds  generally  with  the  least  successful  part 
of  Belisarius's  second  command  in  Italy.  Belisarius  and  Marl- 
borough, whose  domestic  and  political  histories  resemble  one 
another  so  closely,  differ  strangely  in  this  respect.  Belisarius 
is  one  of  the  youngest  of  conquerors ;  Marlborough  is  quite  the 
oldest  upon  our  list,  Blenheim  and  all  his  great  battles  having  been 
won  after  his  fifty-fourth  year,  when  Belisarius  was  virtually  su- 
perannuated. Wellington  and  Ccesar  won  most  of  their  victories 
between  forty  and  fifty,  and  their  careers  show  in  many  respects 
considerable  correspondence.  The  two  born  kings,  Alexander 
and  Frederick,  have  of  course  exceptional  opportunities  of  early 
distinguishing  themselves  :  but  while  Alexander  wins  all  his 
great  battles  before  he  is  thirty  and  dies  at  thirty-two,  the 
really  heroic  part  of  Frederick's  life,  the  Seven  Years'  War, 
does  not  begin  till  he  is  between  the  ages  of  forty-four  and 

^  Certainly  past  fifty.    She  had  a  grown-up  son  and  daughter 
^^  5355  aiid  Procopius  informs  us  that  she  was  sixty  years  old 

Dd  2 

404  Affairs  at  Constantinople. 

BOOKv.  ately  in  love  with  her  handsome  chamberlain 
_^^1^_  Theodosius,  the  godson  and  adopted  child  of 
Intrigue     hcrsclf  and  her  husband.     At    Carthao;e   and   at 

with  Theo-  ^         ^  ^ 

dosius.  Syracuse  Belisarius  saw  and  heard  enough  to 
rouse  his  suspicions :  but  he  put  the  terrible 
thought  away  from  him,  and  even  consented,  as 
we  have  seen,  to  put  to  death  (ostensibly  for 
another  offence)  the  officer,  Constantine,  who  had 
expressed  an  opinion  unfavourable  to  the  honour 
of  Antonina.  So  the  years  had  gone  by,  Theo- 
dosius holding  a  place  of  honour  and  trust  in  the 
General's  palace,  passionately  loved  by  its  mis- 
tress, and  Belisarius  the  only  person  therein  who 
was  ignorant  of  his  dishonour.  When  the  whole 
party  returned  to  the  capital,  Theodosius  felt  that 
the  risk  which  he  was  running  was  too  terrible, 
and  retired  to  Ephesus,  where  he  entered  a  con- 
vent. Antonina  made  no  attempt  to  conceal  her 
wild  grief  at  his  departure,  and  actually  persuaded 
Belisarius  to  join  her  in  entreating  the  Emperor 
to  command  his  return. 
541.  At   length,  in  the  spring  of  541,   all  his  pre- 

ofXiisY-^  parations  being  completed,  Belisarius  started  for 
th^Erst.  ^^  East  to  try  conclusions  with  Chosroes.  On 
Photius     ^]^Q  gyg  of  ]^^g  departure,  Photius,  son  of  Antonina, 

convinces  r  '  '  ' 

him  of       driven   to    despair   by   the    machinations    of    his 

Antonina  s  •*■  "^ 

guilt.  unnatural  mother  against  his  life,  laid  before  the 
General  convincing  proof  of  her  past  unfaithful- 
ness.     He  proved  to  him  also  that  Theodosius, 

in  544,  when  Belisarius  started  the  second  time  for  Italy.     But 
in  his  spite  he  may  have  added  a  few  years  to  her  age. 

Antonina  separated  from  her  lover,       405 

who  had  refused  to  leave  his  convent  in  obedience  book  v. 

to  the  Emperor's  orders,  was  in  reality  only  waiting  __^ ;_ 

for  the  moment  of  Belisarius's  departure  to  return      ^'^^' 
to    Constantinople   and    resume    the    interrupted 
intrigue.     Now  at  length  the  emotion  of  jealousy, 
so  long  kept  at  bay,  took  full  possession  of  the 
General's  soul.     He  made  Photius  his  confederate, 
and  devised  with  him   a  scheme    for   separating 
the   guilty   lovers    and    imprisoning   Theodosius. 
Then  he  started  for  the  field ;   but  with  a  mind 
distracted  by  these  bitter  tlioughts,  and  hampered 
by    the    necessity   of  keeping    open   his    commu- 
nications with  his  step-son,  he  failed  to  achieve 
any  brilliant  success  over  Chosroes.  The  plan,  how-  Antonina 
ever,  devised  between  him  and  Photius  was  at  first  and  Theo- 
successfully  executed.  Antonina  was  kept  in  harsh  banished. 
durance,  and  her  lover  was  carried  off  to  a  fortress 
in  Cilicia,  the  very  name  of  which  was  known 
only   to   Photius.     So    far   the    avengers    of  the  interfer- 
injured   honour   of  the  husband  had  succeeded ;  Theodora. 
but  now  Theodora  appeared  upon  the  scene,  her 
aid  being  invoked  by  the  guilty  but  furious  wife ; 
and  whenever  Theodora  condescended  to  intervene, 
all  laws  human  and  divine  must  give  way  before 
her.     To  understand  the  Empress's   motives  for 
interfering,  obviously  on  the  wrong  side,  in  this 
wretched  matrimonial  dispute,  we  must  turn  to  the 
political  history  of  the  times    and   take   note   of 
another  event  which  signalised  this  year  541,  the 
fall  of  John  of  Cappadocia. 

It  will  be  remembered  that  in  the  terrible  in-      532. 

406  Affairs  at  Constantinople. 

BOOK  V.  surrection  of  the  nika,  the  fury  of  the  populace 
_^.  1  had  been  especially  directed  against  two  ministers 
un^o'^uUr'^  of  the  Emperor,  Tribonian  the  qnaestor,  and  John 
ministers,   ^f  Cappadocia  the  Praetorian  Prefect.     Both  had 
bowed  before  the  storm,  but  both,  soon  after  the 
suppression  of  the  revolt,  had  been  restored  to 
Tribonian.  their  old  officcs.     Tribonian  had  probably  learned 
the  lesson  that  the  ministers  of  a  king  must  at 
least  seem  to  do  justice.  At  any  rate,  his  courteous 
demeanour,  his  honeyed  words,  and  the  vast  learn- 
ing of  which  he  was  undoubtedly  master,  caused 
the  people  to  acquiesce  patiently  in  his  subsequent 
545-      tenure  of  office,  and  he  died,  a  few  years  after 
the  time  w^hich   we  have  now  reached,  at  peace 
with  all  men. 
John  of         Far  different  was  the  career  of  his  early  partner 

Cappado-      .  .  pi         i      •  i 

cia.  m  unpopularity,  the   coarse-fibred,  ignorant,   but 

singularly  able  John  of  Cappadocia.     For  eight 

533-541-  years  this  remorseless  tyrant  was  the  ruling  spirit 
in  the  internal  administration  of  the  Empire. 
When  it  came  to  a  question  of  foreign  policy,  such 
as  the  Vandal  expedition,  which  he  would  fain 
have  dissuaded  Justinian  from  undertaking,  he 
might  be,  and  was  outvoted :  but  when  a  new 
tax  had  to  be  levied,  or  a  provincial  governor 
too  chary  of  the  fortunes  of  his  subjects  to  be 
reprimanded,  the  voice  of  John  was  supreme. 
He  had  essentially  the  slave-driver's  nature,  the 
harsh  bullying  voice,  the  strong  clear  brain,  the 
relentless  heart,  which  enable  a  man  in  authority 
to  get  the  maximum  of  w^ork  out  of  those  below 

Johi  of  Cappadocia.  407 

him,  if  they  have  no  choice  but  to  obey.  Such  book  v. 
a  man  with  the  powers  of  a  Grand  Vizier  was  — ! — L 
invaluable  to  Justinian,  whose  expensive  and 
showy  policy  required  that  a  great  number  of 
harsh  and  even  cruel  deeds  should  be  done,  though 
personally  his  not  unkind  disposition  and  his 
studious  nature  would  have  shrunk  from  the  doing 
of  them. 

Of  anv  such   scruples  the   hard   heart    of  the  His 

*^  .  .    .  cruelty. 

Cappadocian  felt  not  a  trace.  As  pitiless  as  he 
was  quick-witted,  a  man  who  lived  for  the  grati- 
fication of  his  lusts,  and  who  believed  in  nothing- 
else,  except  in  a  sorcerer's  spells,  John  was  both 
cruel  himself  and  the  cause  of  cruelty  in  others. 
He  erected  the  stocks  and  the  rack  in  a  secret 
chamber  of  the  Prefect's  palace,  and  there  tor- 
tured those  whom  he  suspected  of  concealing  their 
wealth  from  him,  till  they  had  given  up  the  utter- 
most farthing.  One  old  man,  Antiochus  by  name, 
was  found  when  he  was  loosed  from  the  ropes  ^ 
to  have  died  under  the  severity  of  the  torture. 
What  the  Prefect  was  doing  himself  in  the  capital, 
his  minions,  emulous  of  his  cruelty,  were  doing 
in  all  the  provinces  of  the  East.  One  in  par- Joannes 
ticular,  also  named  John,  and  surnamed  Baggy- piumacius. 
cheek  ^  from  the  fat  and  flabby  cheeks  which  made 
his  face  hideous,  laid  waste  the  province  of  Lydia 

^  Joannes  Lydus,  on  whose  authority  these  particulars  are 
given  (p.  251),  declares  that  he  was  an  eye-witness  of  this 

408  Affah'S  at  Constantinople. 

EOOKV.  and  the  city  of  Philadelphia  with  his  cruel  exac- 

^"'  ^^'    tions.     A  certain  Petronius  possessed  a  valuable 

story  of     jewel  which  had  been  handed  down  to  him  by  his 

Fetronaus.  »^  ^       ^  -^ 

ancestors.  Of  this  jewel  the  Governor  was  deter- 
mined to  obtain  possession  ;  whether  for  the  Em- 
peror s  treasury  or  his  own,  who  shall  say  %  The 
owner  was  put  in  irons ;  was  beaten  with  rods 
by  stalwart  barbarians ;  still  he  refused  to  part 
with  the  inheritance  of  his  fathers.  He  was  shut 
up  in  a  mule-stable  and  compelled  to  spend  his 
days  and  nights  in  that  filthy  dwelling.  All  his 
fellow-citizens  bewailed,  but  none  were  able  to  help 
him.  The  Bishop  of  Philadelphia,  timidly  ven- 
turing on  some  words  of  remonstrance,  backed  by 
an  appeal  to  the  sacred  writings,  was  assailed  by 
such  a  torrent  of  abuse,  for  himself,  for  his  office, 
for  the  holy  books,  as  might  only  have  been 
rivalled  in  the  lowest  stews  of  Constantinople. 
The  Bishop  wept,  but  Petronius,  seeing  that  he 
had  fallen  into  the  hands  of  a  monster  who  feared 
neither  God  nor  man,  sent  to  his  house  for  the 
jewel,  handed  it  to  the  tax-collector,  and  was 
permitted  to  depart,  after  he  had  given  several 
pieces  of  gold  to  his  tormentors  as  a  fee^  for  their 
labours  in  chastising  him. 
story  of  Sadder  yet  was  the  history  of  Proclus,  a  retired 

veteran,  whom  the  tyrant  assailed  with  a  demand 
for  twenty  aurei  (£12),  which  the  unfortunate 
soldier  did   not   possess.     The    exactors   thought 

^  Sjyortula,  the  French  douceur.     Literary  English  seems  to 
have  no  word  which  exactly  expresses  the  idea. 

Cruelties  of  the  revenue-officers.  409 

that  he  merely  feigned  poverty,  and  blunted  all  book  v. 
their  instruments  of  torture  on  his  miserable  — '. — L 
frame  ^  Wearied  out  at  length  he  said,  '  Very 
well,  then,  come  home  with  me  and  I  will  give 
you  the  twenty  aurei!  On  the  road  he  asked 
leave  to  tarry  for  a  few  minutes  at  a  wayside  inn. 
His  oppressors  waited  outside,  but  as  he  was  long 
in  returning,  they  broke  into  the  chamber  and 
found  the  poor  wretch  hanging  by  a  cord  from 
a  hook.  Indignant  at  being  thus  outwitted  by 
a  man  who  had  dared  to  die  instead  of  satisfying 
the  tax-gatherer,  they  cast  his  body  into  the  Agora 
to  be  trodden  under  foot  of  men,  and  appropriated 
to  the  Imperial  treasury  the  slender  fortune  which 
might  otherwise  have  sufficed,  and  not  more  than 
sufficed,  for  the  costs  of  his  burial. 

The  collector  of  the  public  revenue  is  always 
and  everywhere  spoken  against,  and  we  generally 
read  the  stories  of  his  wrongdoing  with  some 
abatement  for  probable  exaggeration.  But  in  this 
case  the  most  grievous  tales  of  oppression  come 
to  us,  not  from  the  oppressed  provincials,  but  from 
a  leading  member  of  the  Civil  Service,  from  the 
Somerset  House  (so  to  speak)  of  Constantinople  ; 
and  the  remarkable  but  unconcerted  agreement 
between  Joannes  Lydus  and  Procopius  gives  great 
additional  value  to  the  testimony  of  each. 

The  daily  life  of  the  master-extortioner  John  Domestic 
of  Cappadocia  is  painted  by  these  writers  in  vivid  Cappado-^ 

^    Haz/ra  to.  Ta)v  rroivav  opyava   dnrjft^Xvve   rols   vcvpon  tov   dOXiov 


410  Affairs  at  Constantinople, 

BOOKV.  colours,  too  vivid  indeed  and  too  horrible  to  be 
^"-  ^^'  reproduced  here.  The  official  palace  in  which  he 
abode  had  been  built  by  one  of  his  most  virtuous 
predecessors,  Constantine,  some  seventy  years  pre- 
viously, in  the  reign  of  Leo,  and  was  then  a  modest 
well-proportioned  dwelling,  such  as  suited  the  chief 
minister  of  a  well-ordered  state.  It  was  adorned 
— and  here  we  get  an  interesting  glimpse  of  the 
arts  of  the  Fifth  Century — by  a  picture  in  mosaic 
representing  the  installation  of  its  founder.  A 
later  Prefect,  Sergius,  had  added  a  large  upper 
story,  which  somewhat  spoilt  the  proportions  of 
the  building,  and  in  these  upper  rooms  John  of 
Cappadocia  spent  his  nights  and  days,  wallowing 
in  all  kinds  of  brutal  and  sensual  indulgences  ^ 

His  glut-  Sea  and  land  were  ransacked  to  supply  the  mate- 
rials for  his  gluttony,  and  while  he  reclined  at 
the  banquet,  with  his  head  covered  with  a  veil 
to  look  like  a  king  upon  the  stage,  and  while 
troops  of  the  most  degraded  of  mankind  of  both 
sexes  shared  his  orgies,  the  grave  and  reverend 
members  of  his  staff,  men  who  had  enrolled  them- 
selves in  the  officium  of  the  Prefect,  believing  that 
they  were  entering  a  learned  and  honourable  pro- 
fession, were  compelled  to  wait  upon  him  at  table, 

^  One  of  the  accusations  brought  by  Lydus  against  his 
enemy  is  that  he  turned  the  bath  on  the  ground-floor,  which 
had  been  good  enough  for  his  predecessors,  into  a  stable,  and 
erected  another  bath  in  the  top  story,  '  forcing  the  element  of 
water  to  flow  up  to  an  enormous  height.'  One  would  like  to 
know  what  were  the  means  employed  for  this  purpose  by  the 
hydraulic  engineers  of  Constantinople. 

Daily  life  of  John  of  Cappadocia.        411 

like  the  basest  of  menials,  doing  his  bidding  and  book  v. 

that  of  the  shameless  crew  by  whom  he  was  sur-  \ L 

rounded.  If  any  one  dared  to  thwart  the  will  of 
the  tyrant  in  this  or  any  other  matter,  he  was 
handed  over  to  the  rough  chastisement  of  John's 
barbarian  men-at-arms,  'men  with  wolfish  souls 
and  wolfish  names  ^' 

So  passed  the  Cappadocian's  evening,  in  flagi-  His  cow- 
tious  and  obscene  orgies  prolonged  far  into  the 
night  ^.  When  his  troop  of  parasites  had  left  him 
and  he  had  to  seek  his  bed-chamber,  then  the 
timidity  of  the  bully  showed  itself  He  knew  that 
he  had  many  enemies  (one  especially,  mightiest 
and  most  unscrupulous  of  them  all),  and  in  spite 
of  his  thousands  of  body-guards  he  could  never 
shake  off  the  haunting  fear  that  he  should  wake 
up  to  see  some  barbarian's  eyes  gleaming  at  him 
from  under  shaggy  eye-brows  and  the  knife  raised 
to  strike  him  to  the  hearL  He  started  up  at 
intervals  to  peep  out  from  under  the  eaves  of  his 
dwelling,  looking  this  way  and  that  way  at  every 
avenue  leading  to  the  palace.  Thus  with  fitful 
and  broken  slumbers  the  night  wore  away^  But 
when  morning  came,  the  fears,  the  half-formed 
resolutions  of  amendment  made  in  the  night,  had 
all  vanished.  He  perhaps  bethought  him  that  it  His  popu- 
was  well  to  cultivate  his  popularity  with  the  mob;  hunting. 
for  this  man,  whose  hand  was  so  heavy  on  wealthy 

^  Tots  OTjpicodeaTaTois  rCav  olKeTcoif^^ap^dpots  koi  Xvkois  rais  ■>^v\ais  ap.a 
KQL  raif  Trpoaijyopiais  npos  ripcopiav  eKTiBefxevos  (Joann.  Lydus,  ii.  2  I ). 
^  Procop.  De  Bello  Persico,  i.  24.  ^  Ibid.  i.  25. 

412  Affairs  at  Constantinople. 

BOOKV.  senators  and  Christian  bishops,  had  a  certain  fol- 
^"'  ^^'  lowing  among  the  lowest  of  the  populace,  parti- 
cularly among  the  Green  faction  and  the  brawny 
Cappadocian  porters,  his  countrymen.  Accordingly, 
dressed  in  a  robe  of  vivid  green,  which  made  more 
conspicuous  the  paleness  of  his  sodden  face,  he 
would  rush  through  the  Agora  courting  the  saluta« 
tions  and  the  applause  of  the  multitude.  Then 
back  to  the  palace  to  spend  the  morning  in  schemes 
for  amassing  money  by  extortion,  the  evening  in 
devices  for  squandering  it  on  bodily  delights :  and 
so  day  was  added  to  day  in  the  life  of  the  Prae- 
torian Prefect  of  the  East. 
His  am-  The  man,  though  enslaved  to  bestial  pleasures, 

schemes,  liad  yct  somo  stirrings  of  ambition,  and  probably 
some  intellectual  qualities-  which  made  him  fit  to 
rule  :  and  he  had  a  fixed  persuasion  that  he  would 
one  day  be  chosen  Emperor.  It  was  a  natural 
thing  for  a  Praetorian  Prefect,  already  so  near  the 
summit  of  the  State, — 

*  Lifted  up  so  high, 
To  scorn  subjection,  and  think  one  step  higher 
Would  set  him  highest.' 

Power  and  He  worc  already  a  cloak  ^  dyed  in  the  purple  of 

thePrse-    Cos,  but  differing  from  the  Emperor's  in  that  it 

feet.  reached  only  to  the  knees,  while  the  Emperor's 

swept  the  ground ;  and  the  gold  lace  with  which 

the  Prefect's  was  trimmed  was  of  a  different  and 

less   conspicuous   shape  ^.     When   the   Praetorian 

^  Mandye. 

^  Lydus  says  that  the  robe  of  the   Praetorian   Prefect  had 

Ambitiotts  designs  of  the  Prcstoria^i  Prefect,    413 

Prefect  entered  the  room  in  the  paLace  where  book  v. 
the  Senate  was  assembled,  the  chief  officers  of  the  ^'  ^^' 
army  rose  from  their  seats  and  fell  prostrate  before 
him.  The  etiquette  was  for  him  to  raise  them 
and  assure  them  by  a  kiss,  of  his  good- will  to  the 
military  power.  A  minister  thus  highly  distin- 
guished might,  as  has  been  said,  think  the  last 
step  an  easy  one,  and  yet  practically  we  do  not 
find  in  the  history  of  the  Empire  that  it  was  often 
made^  Officers  of  the  guard  and  ministers  of 
the  household  were  hailed  Imperator  more  often 
than  Prefects  of  the  Praetorium. 

In  the  case  of  John  of  Cappadocia  the  coming  John's 
elevation  was  not  a  matter  of  political  calculation  diviners. 
but  of  superstitious  belief.  Though  he  feared  not 
God  nor  regarded  man,  he  had  great  faith  in  the 
power  of  sorcerers  and  soothsayers ;  and  the  pre- 
diction with  which  these  men  flattered  him,  'Thou 
shalt  be  wrapped  in  the  mantle  of  Augustus,'  sank 
deep  into  his  heart.  Often  might  he  be  seen 
kneeling  the  whole  night  through  on  the  pave- 
ment of  a  Christian  church,  dressed  in  the  short 
cloak  of  a  priest  of  Jupiter,  and  not  engaged,  so 
men  said,  in  Christian  devotions,  but  mutterino; 
some  Pagan  prayer  or  spell,  which,  as  he  hoped, 
would  save  his  life  from  the  assassin's  dagger,  and 

TQuXtat  (?)  instead  of  segmenta  (broad  stripes)  of  gold,  and  that 
the  latter  might  be  worn  only  by  the  Emperor  (ii.  13), 

^  Philip,  afterwards  Emperor,  was  Praetorian  Prefect  under 
Decius.  I  cannot  at  present  recall  another  instance  of  the 
same  kind. 

414  Affairs  at  Constantinople. 

EOOKv.  make  the  mind  of  the  Emperor  yet  more  pliable 
^^'  ^^'    in  his  hands  than  it  was  already. 
Theodora's       But   it  was   the   Emperor  only,  not  his  more 
him.  quick-witted  wife,  whose  mind  submitted  to  the 

ascendancy  of  the  Cappadocian.  Utterly  insen- 
sible as  Theodora  was  to  the  distinction  between 
right  and  wrong,  her  artistic  Greek  nature  felt 
keenly  the  difference  between  the  beautiful  and 
the  uncomely;  and  the  coarse,  clumsy  profligacy 
of  the  Prefect  filled  her  with  disgust.  He 
courted  the  favour  of  the  Green  faction  to  whom 
she  had  vowed  a  life-long  enmity.  She  read 
doubtless  his  designs  on  the  Imperial  succession, 
and  knew  that,  if  they  prospered,  the  days  of 
Justinians  widow  would  be  numbered.  Thus  it 
came  to  pass  that,  early  in  the  career  of  John  of 
Cappadocia,  Theodora  was  his  declared  foe.  At 
the  time  of  the  sedition  of  the  nika  she  had 
counselled  his  disgrace,  and  we  may  fairly  con- 
clude that  his  second  tenure  of  ofiice,  though  it 
lasted  eight  years,  was  one  long  struggle  for 
power  between  the  Emperor's  minister  and  his 
consort.  There  is  one  notable  instance,  that  of 
Eichelieu,  in  which  such  a  struggle  has  terminated 
in  the  minister's  favour ;  but  generally  speaking, 
however  indispensable  the  counsellor  may  seem, 
the  final  victory  rests  with  the  wife. 
John's  When  Belisarius  returned  from  the  Gothic  war, 

Beiisarius.  his  popularity  and  his  renown  were  wormwood  to 
the  jealous  Prefect,  who  laid  many  an  unsuccess- 
ful snare  for  his  rival.     Belisarius  started  for  his 

Antonina  and  Etiphemia.  415 

Eastern  campaign  ;   but  his  wife,  a  far  more  dan-  book  v. 
gerous  foe,  remained  behind.     Antonina,  who  had  '. L 

set  her  heart  on  obtaining  the  favour  of  Theodora,  ^^^l^^^^ 
and  knew  that   John's  destruction  would  be  thepi?*^^^^ 


surest  means  to  that  end,  devised  a  scheme  for  his 
ruin,  so  dishonourable  that  even  the  brutal  Pre- 
fect wins  a  moment's  sympathy  when  we  see  him 
thus  ensnared.  The  one  amiable  feature  in  his 
character  was  his  fondness  for  his  only  child  Eu- 
phemia,  a  young  and  modest  girl,  who  must  assur- 
edly have  been  brought  up  out  of  sight  and  hearing 
of  her  fathers  orgies.  With  this  child  Antonina 
cultivated  an  apparent  friendship,  and,  after  many 
visits  had  established  seeming  intimacy,  she  one 
day  burst  out  into  angry  complaints  of  the  way  in 
which  the  Empire  was  now  governed.  '  See  what  Conversa- 
an  ungrateful  master  Justinian  has  been  to  Belisa-  John's 
rius.  After  extending  the  bounds  of  the  Eoman  EuphemL. 
Empire  further  than  it  had  ever  reached  before, 
and  bringing  two  kings  with  all  their  treasures 
captive  to  Constantinople,  what  thanks  has  my 
husband  received  % '  Other  words  were  added  to 
the  same  effect.  Euphemia,  who,  young  as  she 
was,  shared  her  father's  enmity  to  Theodora,  de- 
lighted at  this  prelude,  replied,  '  Dear  lady,  the 
fault  is  surely  yours  and  your  husband's.  You 
could  make  an  end  of  all  this,  but  will  not,  and 
seem  to  be  satisfied  with  things  as  they  are.'  'We 
are  powerless,'  said  Antonina,  'by  ourselves.  Our 
strength  lies  only  in  the  camp,  and  unless  some  one  in 
the  cabinet  seconds  our  efforts,  we  can  do  nothing  ; 

416  Affairs  at  Constantinople. 

BOOK  V.  but  if  yonr  father  would  help  us,  by  God's  blessing 
"'  ^^'  we  might  perhaps  accomplish  something  worth 
54^-      telling  of/ 

An  inter-        All  this  convorsation  was  duly  reported  to  John 

view  ar- 

ranged      of   Cappadocia,  who,   thinking    that    now   at    last 


John  and   the  words  of  the  soothsayers  were  commg  true  and 


that  by  the  arms  of  Belisarius  he  was  to  be  seated 
on  the  throne  of  the  Caesars,  fell  headlong  into  the 
trap  prepared  for  him  and  pressed  for  an  immediate 
interview  with  Antonina,  at  which  they  might 
arrange  their  plans  and  exchange  oaths  of  secresy 
and  fidelity.  Apparently  in  order  to  gain  time  to 
communicate  with  Theodora,  Antonina  replied  that 
an  interview  in  the  capital  would  be  inexpedient 
and  dangerous,  but  that  on  her  approaching  depar- 
ture to  join  her  husband  at  the  camp,  John  could 
safely  pay  her  a  valedictory  visit  at  the  suburb 
which  marked  the  first  stage  of  her  journey.  The 
deceived  Prefect  willingly  accepted  the  invitation. 
And  yet  the  very  scene  of  their  meeting  might 
have  suggested  thoughts  of  prudence.  It  was  a 
country  house  of  Belisarius,  but  it  was  named  Ru- 
finianum,  having  no  doubt  once  belonged  to  the 
395-  aspiring  Prefect  of  Arcadius,  who  mounted  the 
platform  to  be  saluted  as  Emperor,  and  descended 
from  it  a  mutilated  and  dishonoured  corpse  ^ 
The  inter-  All  thcsc  arrangements  were  duly  communicated 
to  Theodora,  and  by  her  to  the  Emperor  ^.     Narses 

*  See  vol.  i.  p.  255  for  the  death  of  Rufiims. 

^  Procopius  in  the  Anecdota  affirms  that  Antonina  bound 
herself  '  by  oaths  than  which  the  Christians  knew  none  more 
terrible '  not  to  betray  the  Cappadocian. 


Johit  of  Cappadocia  arrested,  417 

the  Eunucli  and  Marcellus  Captain  of  the  House-  book  v. 
hold  Troops  ^  were  sent  with  a  considerable  number  — '. — L 
of  troops  to  listen,  and  if  they  heard  treasonable  ^^^' 
words  to  arrest  the  traitor.  Theodora  arrived  at 
the  country  house  where  she  was  to  pass  the  night, 
and  whence  she  was  to  start  on  the  morrow.  John 
of  Cappadocia  came  there  too,  having,  so  it  was 
said,  received  and  disregarded  a  message  from  Jus- 
tinian— '  Have  no  secret  interview  with  Antonina.' 
At  midnight  they  met,  the  deceived  and  the  de- 
ceiver, apparently  in  the  garden  of  the  palace. 
Behind  a  low  fence  crouched  Narses  and  Marcellus 
with  some  of  their  followers.  The  Cappadocian 
began  open-mouthed  about  the  plot,  binding  him- 
self and  seeking  to  bind  Antonina  by  the  most 
terrible  oaths  to  secrecy.     When  they  had  heard  John's 

.  ^  attempted 

enough,  the  spies  arose  and  came  towards  J  ohn  to  arrest. 
arrest  him.     He  uttered  a  cry:   his  own  guards 
rushed  to  the  spot,  and  a  struggle  followed  in  which 
Marcellus  was  wounded,   but  not  mortally,  by  a 
soldier  ignorant  of  his  rank.     In  the  scuffle  John  His  escape 
escaped.     Men  thought  that  even  then,  if  he  had  ture. 
gone  straight  to  Justinian  and  appealed  to  the  Im- 
perial clemency,  he  might  still  have  retained  his 
office ;    but  by  fleeing  to  a  church  for  refuge  he 
left  the  field  free  to  Theodora,  who  made  his  ruin 
sure.     Having  been  seized  in  the  church,  he  was 
degraded  from  his  dignity  of  Prefect  and  taken  to 
the  city  of  Cyzicus,  on  the  southern  shore  of  the 

^  "kpx'^v  Twv  iv  TToKaTico  (f)v\dKa)v.     Probably  he  was  (Illustris) 
Magister  Militum  Praesentalis. 

VOL.  IV,  E  e 

418  Affairs  at  Constantinople. 

BOOKV.  Sea  of  Marmora,  where  he  was  forced  to  assume 
^^'  ^^'  the  priestly  office,  changing  his  name  from  John  to 
^^^'  Peter.  It  was  noted  by  those  who  were  present  at 
wrapped  in  the  sacred  ceremony,  that  a  priestly  robe  not  having 
of  Augus-^  been  specially  prepared  for  the  unwilling  candidate, 
*"^'  the  garment  of  a  clerical  by-stander  was  borrowed 

for  the  purpose,  that  the  name  of  this  by-stander 
chanced  to  be  Augustus,  and  that  thus  the  promises 
of  the  sorcerers  to  the  Prefect  were  literally  ful- 
filled, since  he  had  been  *  wrapped  in  the  mantle  of 
Further         By  the  favour  of  the  Emperor,  who  had  not  yet 

fortunes  of  i  •      i  •      n        ^      t 

John  of     lost  his  kmdly  feelmg  towards  him,  the  new-made 

Cappado-  .  n  n  •  /y»    •  •  p 

cia.  priest  was  allowed  to  retain  a  sumcient  portion  oi 

his  vast  and  ill-gotten  wealth  to  excite  the  sore 
envy  of  his  fellow  -  citizens.  The  murder  of  a 
highly  unpopular  bishop  of  Cyzicus,  of  which 
crime  John  was  unjustly  accused,  afforded  a  pre- 
text to  the  Commissioners  of  the  Senate  to  inflict 
upon  him  a  terrible  punishment.  The  former  Con- 
sul, Patrician,  and  Prefect  was  stripped  naked,  like 
the  meanest  criminal,  grievously  scourged,  and 
compelled  to  recite  in  a  loud  voice  all  the  misdeeds 
of  his  past  life.  Then,  with  no  possessions  but  one 
rough  mantle,  bought  for  a  few  pence,  he  was 
shipped  on  board  a  vessel  bound  for  the  coast  of 
Africa.  At  what  port  soever  the  ship  touched  he 
was  constrained  to  go  on  shore  and  beg  for  a  crust  of 
bread  or  a  few  obols  from  the  passers-by.  Such  was 
the  fall  of  the  man  whose  wealth  had  been  counted 
by  millions,  and  who  had  once   been  practically 

John  of  Cappadocia  a  beggar,  419 

lord  of  Asia.     Still,  even  in  his  abject  misery,  he  book  v. 
cherished  his  old  dreams  of  coming  empire,  and  in  — \ — L. 
fact,  after  seven  years  of  exile  \  he  was,  upon  the      ^^  ' 
death  of  Theodora,  recalled  by  her  husband  to  the 
capital.     He  regained,  however,  none  of  his  former 
honours,   but  spent  the   rest   of   his   life    in   ob- 
scurity, and  died  a  simple  presbyter. 

The  help  w^iich  Antonina  had  given  to  the  Em-  Antonina 

^  ^  in  favour 

press  in  this  deadly  duel  with  the  Prefect  made  with  The- 


the  former  one  oi  the  most  important  personages 
in  the  State.  Theodora  was  not  ungrateful,  and 
her  influence,  now  all-powerful,  was  thrown  en- 
thusiastically into  the  scale  on  behalf  of  her  new 
ally.  Hence,  to  go  back  to  the  dreary  domestic 
history  of  Belisarius,  it  is  easy  to  understand  why 
the  General  was  prevented  from  inflicting  punish- 
ment on  his  faithless  wife.  Antonina' s  petition 
for  help  reached  the  ears  of  Theodora.  She  was 
herself  delivered  from  her  prison,  Photius  was  Photius 
tortured  (but  in  vain)  to  make  him  reveal  the  and  im- 
place  where  Theodosius  was  confined,  and  was^^^^'^^^  ' 
then  thrown  into  a  dark  dungeon.  He  made  two 
attempts  to  flee,  after  each  of  which  Theodora 
caused  him  to  be .  dragged  away  from  the  Holy 
Table  itself,  under  which  he  had  taken  refuge. 
At  length,  however,  he  escaped  to  Jerusalem, 
where,  taking  the  habit  of  a  monk,  he,  by  a  life 
of  obscurity  and  hardship,  succeeded  in  evading 
the  further  persecutions  of  his  unnatural  mother 
and  her  Imperial  aUy. 

^  Passed  at  Cyzicus  and  Antinoopolis. 

E  e  2 

420  Affairs  at  Constantinople. 

BOOK  V.       The  Empress  at  length  succeeded  in  discovering 

^^'  ^^'    the  retreat  of  Theodosius,  and,  as  if  she  were  per- 

Theodosius  forming  the  most  meritorious  of  actions,  restored 

back  to      }iim  to  the  arms  of  Antonina.     Belisarius,  cowed 


Belisarius  and  spirit-brokcu  by  the  malice  of  two  wicked 
^  '  women,  was  forced  humbly  to  beg  forgiveness  from 
the  wife  who  had  so  deeply  wronged  him.  Tor- 
tures, banishment,  loss  of  property,  were  the 
punishments  showered  upon  the  unhappy  depen- 
dents of  BeHsarius  and  Photius,  who  had  sided 
with  their  masters  against  the  adulteress.  The 
guilty  intimacy  of  Antonina  and  her  lover  was 
soon  dissolved  by  the  death  of  Theodosius,  who 
fell  a  victim  to  an  attack  of  dysentery ;  but  from 
this  time  onwards  the  General  was  made  to  feel 
that  he  was  an  outcast  from  the  Imperial  favour, 
and  that  only  as  Antoninas  husband  was  he  to 
expect  even  toleration  at  the  hands  of  Theodora. 
Such  was  the  reward  which  services,  perhaps  the 
most  brilliant  and  the  most  faithful  which  ever 
were  rendered  by  a  subject  to  his  sovereign,  re- 
ceived at  the  Court  of  Byzantium. 
Virtual  The  year  541,  which  saw  the  fall  of  John  of 

oftheCon- Cappadocia,  was  also  memorable  in  the  history  of 
su  fe  ip.  ^j^^  Eoman  State,  as  witnessing  the  death  of  that 
venerable  institution,  which  had  survived  the 
storms  of  ten  centuries  and  a  half,  the  Roman 
Consulship.  For  some  years  the  nominations  to 
this  high  office  had  been  scanty  and  intermittent. 
There  were  no  consuls  in  531  and  532.  The  Em- 
peror held  the  office  alone  in    533,  and   with   a 

Abolition  of  the  Consulship.  421 

colleague  in  534.     Belisarius  was   sole  consul  in  book  v. 

535.     The  two  following  years,  having  no  consuls  . '. L 

of  their  own,  were  styled  the  First  and  the 
Second  after  the  Consulship  of  Belisarius.  John 
of  Cappadocia  gave  his  name  to  the  year  538,  and 
the  years  539  and  540  had  again  consuls,  though 
one  only  for  each  year.  In  541  Albinus  Basilius  ^ 
sat  in  the  curule  chair,  and  he  was  practically 
the  last  of  the  long  list  of  warriors,  orators,  de- 
magogues, courtiers,  which  began  (in  the  year  509  . 
B.  c.)  with  the  names  of  Lucius  Junius  Brutus  and 
Lucius  Tarquinius  Collatinus.  All  the  rest  of  the 
years  of  Justinian,  twenty-four  in  number,  were 
reckoned  as  *Post  Consulatum  Basilii.'  Afterwards, 
each  succeeding  Emperor  assumed  the  style  of  con- 
sul in  the  first  year  of  his  reign,  but  the  office,  thus 
wholly  absorbed  in  the  sun  of  Imperial  splendour, 
ceased  to  have  even  that  faint  reflection  of  its  " 
former  glory,  which  we  have  traced  in  the  fifth  and 
sixth  centuries.  The  pretext  for  abolishing  a  dig- 
nity so  closely  connected  with  the  remembrance  of 
the  heroic  days  of  the  Eoman  State  was,  that  the 
nobles  upon  whom  it  was  conferred  frittered  away 
their  substance  in  pompous  shows  exhibited  to  the 
people.  The  real  reason  doubtless  was  that  pre- 
cisely by  means  of  those  glorious  associations  it 
kept  alive  in  the  minds  of  men  some  remembrance 

^  His  full  name  was  Anicius  Faustus  Albinus  Basilius.  He 
was  a  senator  of  Old  Eome,  who,  after  the  capture  of  the  city 
in  546,  fled  to  Constantinople.  (See  Anastasius  Bibliothecarius, 
ap.  Muratori,  iii.  132  :  quoted  and  corrected  by  Usener,  Anecd. 
Holderi,  pp.  8  and  14.) 

422  Affairs  at  Constantinople. 

BOOKV.  of  the  days  when  the  Emperor  was  not  all  in  all, 
^°'  ^^'    nay,  was  not  yet  even  heard  of.     Consuls,  as  the 
centuries   rolled   on,  had  found   their   power   en- 
croached upon  and  limited  by  the  Dictators,  who 
seemed  to  be  imperatively  called  for  by  the  dis- 
orders of  the  Eoman  State.     The  temporary  figure 
of  the  Dictator  had  given  way  to  the  Imperator, 
the  Princeps  invested  with  Tribunician  powers,  the 
undefined  All-ruler  who  was  yet  only  first  citizen 
in  the  commonwealth,  the  wonderful   Republican 
Autocrat  whom  Julius  and  Augustus  had  imagined 
and  had  bodied  forth.     Gradually  the  Imperator 
had  become  more  of  a  king  and  less  of  a  citizen,  till 
under  Diocletian  the  adoring  senators,  the  purple 
sandals,  all  the  paraphernalia  of  Eastern  royalty, 
marked  him  out  as  visibly  supreme.     Still,  many 
remains  of  the  old  Eoman  constitution,  especially 
the  venerable  magistracy  of  the  Consulship,  sub- 
sisting side  by  side  with  the  new  dominion,  bore 
witness  to  the  old  order  out  of  which  it  sprang. 
Now,  the  last  remains  of  the  withered  calyx  fall 
away,  and  the  Imperial  dignity  exhibits  itself  to 
the  world,  an  absolute  and  undisguised  autocracy. 
The  Emperor  is  the  sole  source  of  power  ;    the 
people  have  not  to  elect,  but  to  obey. 




Source : — 

Procopius,  De  Bello  Gotthico,  iii.  1-9.  BOOKV. 

Ch.  15. 

No  stronger  proof  of  the  superiority  of  Belisa-  confusion 
rius,  both  as  a  general  and  a  ruler,  could  be  afforded  IfteAL 
than  the  disasters  which  befell  the  Imperial  cause  of  Beii^a- 
in  Italy  after  his  departure.     There  can  be  little  "'^^^ 
doubt  that  Justinian's  chief  reason  for  recalling 
him  was  the  fear  that  he  might  listen  to  some  such 
proposition   as  that  made  to  him   by  the  Goths 
during  the  siege  of  Ravenna  and  might  claim  in- 
dependent sovereignty.     The  fact  that  he  was  not 
sent  against  Chosroes  till  the  spring  of  541  proves 
that  jealousy  was  Justinian's   main   motive,  and 
heavily  was  he  punished  for  that  jealousy  by  the 
subsequent  course  of  the    war.       Italy  appeared 
to  be  recovered  for  the   Empire  when  Belisarius 
entered  Eavenna  in  triumph.     Six  months  more  of 
the  great  General's  presence  in  the  peninsula  would 
probably  have  turned  that  appearance  into  a  re- 
ality.    But  as  it  was,  the  stone  of  Sisyphus   had 
only  just  touclied  the  topmost  angle  of  the  cliffs. 
When  Belisarius  went,  it  thundered  down  again 

424  The  Elevation  of  Totila, 

BOOK  V.  into  the  plains.    The  struggle  had  all  to  be  fought 
^"'  ^^'    over  again,  and  twelve  years  of  war,  generally  dis- 
astrous to  the  Imperial  arms,  had  to  be  encoun- 
tered before  Italy  was  really  united  to  the  Eoman 
Officers  The  officers  who  accompanied  Belisarius  on  his 

turned       retum  to  Constantinople  were  Ildiger  his  son-in- 
iLarius.      law,  Valerian,  Martin,  and  Herodian.    All  of  these 
generals  except  Herodian,  who  was  speedily  sent 
back  to  Italy,  distinguished  themselves  in  the  Per- 
sian war  ^ 
Officers  The  chiefs  of  the  army  who  were  left  in  Italy 

mainedin  wcre  Johu  the  nephcw  of  Vitalian,  John  'the 
Glutton,'  Bessas  the  Goth,  Vitalius,  and  Con- 
stantian  *the  Count  of  the  Imperial  Stables^.' 
The  last  two  had  commanded  in  Dalmatia,  till  the 
cessation  of  the  Gothic  resistance  in  that  quarter 
allowed  them  to  be  transferred  to  Italy. 
No  Gene-  Amoug  all  thesc  generals  there  was  none  placed 
chief.  in  supreme  command.  Constantian  as  command- 
ant of  Eavenna,  and  Bessas,  either  at  this  time  or 
soon  after  governor  of  Eome,  were  placed  in  two 
of  the  most  prominent  positions  in  the  country. 
John's  military  record  was  the  most  brilliant,  and 
probably  with  all  his  faults  he  would,  if  appointed 
General-in-chief,  have  soon  brought  the  war  to  a 
successful   termination.      But   no  —  the    studious 

^  Was  Ildiger  involved  in  the  disgrace  of  Belisarius  in  543  ? 
We  do  not  seem  to  hear  of  him  after  this  date. 

^  '  Comes  Sacri  Stabuli.'  The  predecessor  of  the  Grand 
Connestable  of  the  French  monarchy. 

No  General-in-ckief  in  Italy.  425 

Emperor  was  not   going  to  encounter  again  the  book  v. 

same   agony  of  jealous  apprehension  which   had  ' 

caused  each  successive  bulletin  from  Belisarius  to 
be  like  a  stab  in  his  heart.  Forgetful  therefore  of 
the  fine  old  Homeric  maxim, 

'  111  is  the  rule  of  the  many  :  let  one  alone  be  the  ruler  ^,' 

he  left  the  generals  with  an  equality  of  authority 
to  hold  and  govern  Italy  each  according  to  his 
own  ideas  ^.  Naturally,  these  ideas  were  in  each 
case  to  plunder  as  much  and  to  fight  as  little  as 
possible.  The  bonds  of  discipline  were  soon  utterly 
relaxed,  and  the  rapacious,  demoralised  army  of 
the  Emperor  became  formidable  to  the  peaceful 
provincials,  but  to  no  one  else. 

Now  too  the  power  of  that  terrible  engine  of  Financial 
oppression,  the  Byzantine  taxing-system,  began  to  "^pp^®^^^^^* 
make  itself  felt  in  Italy.  Justinian's  first  care 
with  all  his  conquests  was  to  make  them  pay. 
With  an  extravagant  wife,  a  pompous  and  costly 
court,  with  that  rage  for  building  which  seems  to 
be  engendered  by  the  very  air  of  Constantinople, 
with  multitudes  of  hostile  tribes  hovering  round 
his  frontiers  who  required  constant  bribes  to  pre- 
vent them  from  exposing  the  showy  weakness  of 
his  Empire,  with  all  these  many  calls  upon  him 
Justinian  was  perpetually  in  need  of  money;  and 
the  scourge,  the  rack,  the  squalid  dungeon,  as  we 

^   OvK  ayaOov  noKvKoipavir]'   (Is  Koipavos  ca-Tco  (Iliad,  ii.  204). 

^  It  seems  probable  that  there  was  some  territorial  division 
between  the  different  commands,  but  what  it  was  Procopius 
does  not  inform  us. 

426  The  Elevation  of  Totila, 

BOOKV.  have  seen  in  the  last  chapter,  were  freely  used  in 
'        order  to  obtain  it.    That  odious  analogy  to  a  great 

Eoman  household  which  had  now  thoroughly  es- 
tablished itself  in  the  once  free  commonwealth  of 
Kome,  and  which  made  the  Emperor  a  master  and 
his  subjects  slaves,  seemed  to  justify  any  excess  of 
rapine.  If  we  could  scrutinise  the  heart  of  the 
Dardanian  peasant's  son  who  sat  on  the  throne  of 
the  Caesars,  we  should  probably  find  that  his  secret 
thought  was  something  like  this  :  'It  is  the  busi- 
ness of  my  generals  to  conquer  for  me  new  pro- 
vinces. The  inhabitants  of  those  provinces  become 
my  slaves,  and  must  pay  whatever  I  command  them. 
It  is  my  privilege  to  spend  the  money  which  I 
condescend  to  receive  from  them  exactly  for  such 
purposes  as  I  choose.' 
Justinian's      With  thcse  hififh  notions  of  preroerative  in  his 

failure  as  .  .     .  ^  r  & 

an  econo-    miud,  Justiuiau  became  one  of  the  most  ruinous 

mist.  . 

governors  to  his  Empire  that  the  world  has  ever 
seen.  The  reader  need  not  be  reminded  of  the 
dreary  story  of  fiscal  oppression  which  in  Con- 
stantinople, in  Africa,  in  Lydia,  has  already  met 
his  view  \  The  eighteen  new  taxes  with  fearful 
and  unheard-of  names,  the  stringently-exercised 
rights  of  preemption,  the  cruel  angaria  which,  like 
the  French  corvees,  consumed  the  strength  of  the 
peasant  in  unremunerated  labour,  all  these  made 
the  yoke  of  the  Emperor  terrible  to  his  subjects. 
And  yet,  as  was  before  pointed  out,  notwithstand- 
ing this  extreme  rigour  in  collecting  the  taxes,  the 
*  See  vol.  iii.  pp.  615-616  ;  vol.  iv.  p.  29. 

The  Imperial  Logothetes.  427 

reproductive  expenditure  of  the  Empire  was  not  book  v. 
attended  to  :  the  aqueducts  were  not  kept  up,  the  ^' 
cursus  ^uhlicus  or  public  post,  the  best  legacy  re- 
ceived from  the  flourishing  days  of  the  Empire, 
was  suffered  to  fall  into  irretrievable  ruin.  Every- 
where the  splendour  of  the  reign  of  Justinian — 
and  there  was  splendour  and  an  appearance  of 
prosperity  about  it — was  obtained  by  living  upon 
the  capital  of  the  country.  Everywhere,  by  his  fiscal 
oppression  as  well  as  by  his  persecuting  attempts 
to  produce  religious  conformity,  he  was  preparing 
the  provinces  of  the  East,  pale,  emaciated,  and 
miserable,  for  the  advent  of  the  Moslem  conquerors, 
who,  within  a  century  of  his  death,  were  to  win  the 
fairest  of  them,  and  were  to  hold  them  even  to 
our  own  day. 

In  order  to  deal  with  the  fiscal  questions  arising  The  Logo- 

.1  1  1  .  T       i  •     •  thetes  in 

m  the  newly-recovered  provmces,  J  ustiman  appears  itaiy. 
to  have  created  a  special  class  of  officers,  who  bore 
the  name  of  Logothetes,  and  whose  functions  cor- 
respond to  those  which  with  us  are  exercised  by  an 
auditor  or  comptroller.  Doubtless  some  such  ma- 
chinery was  necessary  to  enable  the  Emperor  to 
take  up  the  financial  administration  of  two  great 
countries,  somewhat  entangled  by  the  supremacy 
of  Vandal  and  Ostrogothic  kings  (however  true  it 
might  be  that  the  subordinate  officers  in  the  re- 
venue department  had  remained  Roman),  and  also 
to  appraise  at  their  just  value,  often  to  reduce,  the 
large  claims  which  the  soldiers  by  whom  the  con- 
quest had  been  wrought  would  make  against  the 

428  The  Elevation  of  Totila, 

BOOKv.  Imperial  treasury.  Some  such  machinery  was 
"'  necessary,  but  it  should  have  been  worked  with 
a  due  regard  to  the  eternal  principles  of  justice 
and  to  the  special  and  temporary  expediency  of 
winning  the  affections  of  a  people  who  for  two 
generations  had  not  seen  the  face  of  an  Imperial 
Alexander  Both  justicc  and  expediency,  however,  were  dis- 
sors.'  regarded  by  the  freshly  appointed  Logothetes, 
and  especially  by  the  chief  of  the  new  department. 
This  man,  Alexander  by  name,  received  the  sur- 
name of  Psalidion  or  the  Scissors,  from  a  bitter  joke 
which  was  current  about  him  among  the  oppressed 
provincials,  who  declared  that  he  could  clip  the 
gold  coins  that  came  into  his  hands  without  in- 
juring their  roundness,  and  reissue  them  without 
risk  of  detection.  He,  like  all  the  other  Logo- 
thetes, was  paid  by  the  results  of  his  work, 
receiving  one-twelfth  of  all  that  by  his  various 
devices  he  recovered  for  the  Imperial  Treasury. 
From  a  very  humble  station  in  life  he  soon  rose 
to  great  power  and  accumulated  enormous  wealth, 
which  he  displayed  with  vulgar  ostentation  before 
the  various  classes  of  men  whom  his  exactions 
were  grinding  into  the  dust. 
Alienation  The  first  of  thcse  classes  were  the  soldiers,  for 
diery.  the  Logothetc  was  the  natural  enemy  of  the 
soldier,  and  Justinian  deemed  himself  now  secure 
enough  in  his  hold  on  Italy  to  kick  down  the 
ladder  by  which  he  had  risen.  Every  offence 
against  the  public  peace — and   the   wild   swarms 

Alexander  the  Scissors.  429 

of  Huns,  Isaurians,  Heruli,  whom  Belisarius  had  book  v. 
brought  into  Italy,  when  his  strong  hand  was  — '. — L 
removed,  no  doubt  committed  many  such  offences 
— had  to  be  atoned  for  by  a  heavy  fine  to  the 
Imperial  treasury,  one-twelfth  of  which  went  into 
the  coffers  of  Alexander  the  Logothete.  The 
endeavour  to  punish  was  praiseworthy,  but  it 
would  have  been  wise  to  employ  some  sharp 
military  punishment  in  cases  of  signal  offence,  and 
above  all,  to  make  the  generals  feel  that  they  were 
responsible  for  the  good  conduct  of  their  men, 
rather  than  to  create  the  general  feeling  that  while 
the  Logothete  was  rolling  in  wealth  the  soldiers 
whose  stout  hearts  had  reconquered  Italy  were 
shrinking  into  a  poor,  despised,  and  beggared 
remnant,  and  would  undertake  no  more  daring 
deeds  for  the  Emperor  who  had  requited  them 
with  such  ingratitude. 

Not  in  Italy  only,  but  throughout  the  Empire,  Promotion 
another  form  of  embezzlement  practised  by  the 
Logothetes  told  terribly  upon  the  efficiency  of 
the  army.  The  system  of  payment  of  the  soldiers 
at  this  time  was  one  of  advance  according  to 
length  of  service.  The  young  soldier  received 
little,  perhaps  nothing  besides  his  arms  and  his 
rations.  The  man  who  had  seen  some  years'  service 
and  who  was  half  way  up  on  the  rolls  of  the 
legion  was  more  liberally  dealt  with.  The  veteran 
who  would  shortly  leave  the  ranks  received  a  very 
handsome  salary,  out  of  which  he  was  expected  to 
provide  for  his  superannuation  fund  and  to  leave 

430  The  Elevation  of  Totila, 

BOOK  V.  something  to  his  family.  Of  course,  promotion  to 
^^'  ^^'  these  more  favoured  positions  depended  on  the 
retirement  or  death  of  those  who  occupied  them. 
But  the  Logothetes,  intent  on  curtaiHng  the 
soldier's  allowances  for  the  Emperor  s  profit  and 
their  own,  hit  upon  the  expedient  of  keeping  the 
highly  paid  places  full  of  phantom  warriors.  A 
veteran  might  have  died  a  natural  death,  retired 
from  the  service,  or  fallen  in  battle,  but  still  his 
name  was  borne  on  the  rolls  of  his  legion ;  and 
thus  an  excuse  was  afforded  for  keeping  the  mid- 
dle-aged and  elderly  combatant  still  upon  the 
lowest  scale  of  pay.  Procopius  hints  that  Justinian 
himself  connived  at  a  system  so  grossly  unfair  to 
the  soldiers  and  so  absurdly  deceptive  as  to  the 
real  strength  of  the  army^ 
The  Greek  Amoug  the  various  frivolous  pretences  for 
scorned,  abridging  the  soldier's  pay  or  cancelling  his  right 
to  promotion  we  hear  with  surprise  that  one  was 
derived  from  their  Greek  nationality.  *  They  were 
called  Greeks,  as  if  it  was  quite  out  of  the  question 
for  one  of  that  nation  to  show  anything  like  high 
courage^.'  This  passage  shows  us,  what  we  might 
have  expected,  that  these  exactions  were  tried 
more  frequently  on  the  docile  native  soldier  than 
on  the  fiery  and  easily  unsettled  barbarian  aux- 
iliary. It  also  brings  before  us  the  officials  of 
the  great  monarchy  by  the  Bosporus,  men  who 

^  Procopius,  Anecdota,  24  (pp.  133,  134). 

ErrtKaXoCvres  Tots'  \ie.v  <»$■   VpaiKoi  eiev,  axnrcp   ovk  i^bv  tcov  otto 
rrjs  TO  napdnau  tip\  yepuaia  yeveadai  (Proc.  loc.  cit.). 

oppression  of  the  Provincials.  431 

were  themselves  Greek  in  their  names,  their  Ian-  book  v. 
guage,  and  their  ideas,  still  acting  the  part  of  — '. — L 
pure-blooded  Koman  governors,  and  affecting  to 
speak  of  the  men  who  were  in  fact  their  country- 
men with  the  old  Eoman  disdain,  the  disdain  which 
was  not  altogether  unreasonable  in  the  conquerors 
of  Pydna  and  Cynoscephalae. 

Having  filled  the  soldiery  with  a  bumins^  sense  Wrongs  of 

°  "^  .    ^  the  pro- 

of wrong,    Alexander   proceeded   to    alienate    as  tinciais. 

thoroughly  as  possible  the  Eoman  inhabitants  of 
Italy,  whose  good-will  had  so  greatly  aided  the 
progress  of  Belisarius.  All  Italians  who  had  had 
any  pecuniary  transactions  with  the  Gothic  kings, 
or  had  held  office  under  them,  were  called  upon 
to  produce  a  strict  account  of  all  moneys  had  and 
received,  even  though  such  moneys  had  passed 
through  their  hands  forty  years  ago  in  the  early 
days  of  Theodoric.  Very  possibly  the  easy-tempered 
King  and  his  Gothic  nobles  had  not  been  served 
with  absolute  fidelity  by  the  sharp  Italian  officials. 
'  But  what  concern  is  that  of  yours  % '  they  natu- 
rally enquired.  '  It  is  not  the  Emperor  who  suf- 
fered :  nay,  rather,  we  might  have  thought  that 
we  were  serving  the  Emperor  by  every  aureus 
that  we  withheld  from  the  most  powerful  of  his 
foes.'  But  now  was  again  exemplified  the  elas- 
ticity which  marked  all  the  reasonings  of  the 
Imperial  cabinet  on  the  subject  of  the  Gothic 
domination  in  Italy.  When  that  domination  ap- 
peared to  be  hopelessly  overthrown,  Byzantium 
reverted  to   the   theory   which   it   had   so   often 

432  The  Elevation  of  Totila. 

BOOKV.  played  with,  that  Theodoric  and  his  successors 
^^-  ■^^-  had  been  the  lawful  governors  of  Italy  under 
Anastasius,  Justin,  and  Justinian,  that  they  had 
been  by  no  means  usurpers,  but  regular  vicegerents, 
and  therefore  that  an  action  for  embezzlement 
(de  ^ecuniis  re^ettmdis)  would  lie  in  the  Emperor's 
name  against  all  officials  of  the  Ostrogothic  Kings 
who  had  not  faithfully  discharged  their  trust.  But 
this  theory  was  not  popular  in  Italy ;  and  enforced 
as  it  was  by  grasping  Logothetes,  regardless  of 
all  principles  of  justice  as  to  the  kind  of  evidence 
which  they  required  for  transactions  long  past 
and  forgotten,  it  swelled  the  chorus  of  discontent 
which  was  arising  in  all  parts  of  the  peninsula 
against  the  tyrant  who  had  been  hailed  as  a 

The  Gothic      By  all  thcsc  causes  the  smouldering  embers  of 

cause  re-  .  n  i     • 

vives.  the  Gothic  resistance  were  soon  fanned  into  a 
flame.  When  Belisarius  left  Italy,  Ildibad  held 
only  one  city,  Pavia,  and  had  but  one  thousand 
soldiers.  Before  the  year  was  ended  \  all  Liguria 
and  Venetia,  that  is  all  Italy  north  of  the  Po, 
recognised  his  sway,  and  an  army  of  considerable 
size  (largely  composed  of  deserters  from  the  Im- 
perial standard)  was  under  his  orders.  All  the 
generals  but  one  watched  this  sudden  development 

Antumn,  of  the  Gothic  powcr  with  apathy.  Vitalius  alone, 
who  was  lately  commanding  in  Dalmatia  and  now 
in  Venetia,  moved  with  his  hordes   of  Herulian 

^  Apparently,  but  the  notes  of  time  are  not  very  distinct 

Female  discussions  in  the  Gothic  Court.     433 

auxiliaries  against  Ildibad.     A  great  battle   fol-  book  v. 
lowed  near  Treviso — not   many   miles   from   the  — ! — 1 
little  trembling   colony   of  salt-manufacturers   at  j^^^^^°"^^ 
Venice — and  this  battle   was   disastrous    for   the '^^*^^^"^- 
Imperialists.     Vitalius  himself  with  difficulty  es- 
caped.    Theudimund  son  of  Maurice  and  grandson 
of  Mundus  the  Gepid^  a  young   lad   who   thus 
represented  three  generations  of  Imperial  defeat, 
was  in  imminent  peril  of  his  life,  but  just  succeeded 
in  escaping,  along  with  Vitalius.     Visandus,  King 
of  the  Heruli,  lay  dead  upon  the  field. 

The  tidings  of  this  victory,  which  were  soon  Disseu- 
carried  to  ConstantmopJe,  made  the  name  oi  Ildi-  tween  the 
bad  of  great  account  in  the  mouths  of  all  men.  iidibad 
Domestic  dissensions,  however,  soon  cut  short  aw^feo/ 
career  which  promised  to  be  of  great  brilliance. 
If  Uraias  the  nephew  of  Witigis  could  forget,  his 
wife  could  not,  that  the  Gothic  crown  had  been 
offered  to  him  and  that  Ildibad  reigned  by  virtue 
of  his  refusal.     This  lady,  who  was  conspicuous 
among  all  her  countrywomen  for  beauty  and  for 
the  wealth  which  she  lavishly  displayed,  was  one 
day  proceeding  to  the  baths  with  much  barbaric 
pomp    of  raiment    and    retinue.      At    the    same 
moment  the  wife    of  Ildibad   happened  to  pass, 
in  mean  attire  and  with   scant   attendance ;    for 
Ildibad   had   lost   his   possessions   as  well  as  his 
children  by  the  fall  of  Ravenna,  and  there  had 
been  no  time  as  yet  to  form  another  royal  hoard. 
The  wife  of  the  chief  who  would  not  reio^n  offered 
^  See  p.  19. 

VOL.  IV.  F  f 

434  The  Elevation  of  Totila* 

BOOKV.  no  obeisance  to  the  wife  of  the  actual  Kins:,  and 

Ch.  15. 


even  allowed  it  to  be  seen  that  she  was  jeering 
with  her  attendants  at  that  honourable  poverty. 
The  insult,  and  the  burning  tears  with  which  his 
wife  told  the  tale,  maddened  the  heart  of  Ildibad. 
Death  of    He  bes^au  to  traduce  his  benefactor,  accusing  him 

Uraias.  .      ^  .  '  & 

of  disloyalty  to  the  national  cause,  and  before  long 
caused  him  to  be  assassinated. 
Assassina-       From  that  dav  Ildibad' s  hold    on   the   hearts 

tion  of  «    1  .  " 

Ildibad,  01  nis  countrymen  was  gone,  and  he  also  soon 
541.  '  fell  a  victim  to  the  hand  of  the  assassin.  One 
of  his  guards,  named  Wilas,  a  Gepid  by  birth, 
was  betrothed  to  a  young  maiden  whom  he 
loved  with  passionate  ardour.  During  his  absence 
on  some  military  duty,  the  King,  either  from 
forgetfulness  or  caprice,  conferred  the  hand  of  the 
damsel  on  another  of  his  followers.  From  the 
moment  that  he  heard  the  tidings,  Wilas,  maddened 
with  the  wrong,  vowed  his  master's  death ;  and 
he  found  many  willing  accomplices,  for  the  blood 
of  Uraias  cried  for  vengeance.  There  came  a  day 
when  Ildibad  was  feasting  right  royally  in  his 
palace,  with  all  his  guards  in  bright  armour 
standing  round  him.  The  King  stretched  forth 
his  hand  to  grasp  some  delicate  morsel ;  but, 
overcome  apparently  by  the  wine  that  he  had 
drunk  \  fell  forward  on  the  couch.  Wilas  saw  his 
opportunity,    stepped   forward,    drew   his    sword, 

^  Procopius  does  not  say  this,  but  his  words  seem  to  imply 
it :     O   /Ltev  ovv  rfjv  x^'^P^   eVi/SaXo)!'  is  to.  ^pcofxara   eVi   ttjs  ari^ddos 

TrprjVTjS  €K€lTO, 

Death  of  Ildibad.  435 

and  severed  his  master  s  neck  at  one  blow.     With  book  v. 
amazement  and   horror   the   bystanders    saw   the  — '. — L 
head  of  Ildibad  roll  upon  the  festive  board,  even      ^^^' 
while  his  fingers  yet  clutched  the  morsel  that  was 
never  to  be  eaten.     Nothing  is  said  as  to   any 
punishment  of  the  murderer. 

The  death  of  Ildibad  occurred  about  May,  541,  Eraricthe 


a  year  after  the  departure  of  Belisarius  and  six  chosen 
years  from  the  commencement  of  the  war.  He 
was  succeeded  by  Eraric  the  Kugian,  whose  pre- 
carious royalty  was,  however,  never  fully  acknow- 
ledged by  the  remnant  of  the  Gothic  nation.  It 
will  be  remembered  that  a  part  of  the  Eugian 
people  had  followed  the  standards  of  Theodoric 
into  Italy  and  had  shared  his  victories  and  his 
revenge  over  their  deadly  enemy  Odovacar.  Not- 
withstanding the  subsequent  treachery  of  Frederic 
their  King,  the  bulk  of  the  little  nation  remained 
faithful  subjects  of  the  Ostrogothic  royalty,  but 
though  they  loyally  did  his  bidding  in  battle  they 
remained  a  separate  nationality,  marrying  only 
the  women  of  their  own  tribe,  and  probably 
having  justice  administered  by  their  own  chiefs^. 
This  fragment  of  a  nation,  in  the  distress  and 
discouragement  of  their  Gothic  friends,  aspired  to 
give  a  king  to   the   whole    confederacy :    a   pre- 

^  Oi  Se  'Poyot  ovTOi  eOvos  fxev  elcTL  TotBikov,  avTovofioi  re  to  naXaLov 
e/3icov.  Qevdepixov  de  aiirovs  to  kqt  dpxas  7rpo(r€Taipiaaixevov  ^vv  ahXois 
Tia\v  (Bvecriv,  €s  re  to  yevos  dncKeKpiVTO  Koi  ^vv  avTo2s  is  tovs  noXepiovs 
anavTa  enpaaaov.  yvvai^l  pevTOi  lis  fJKKTTa  eTTiptyvvpevoi  dXXoTpiaiSj 
CLKpaK^veai  Traldcov  SiaSo^^aty  to  tov  edvovs  ovopa  iv  o'(f>icnv  avTols 
bieo-ooaavTo  (Procop.  De  B.  Gotth.  iii.  2). 

F  f  2 

436  The  Elevation  of  Totila. 

BOOK  V.  tension  almost  as  audacious   as   if  in  the  party 
_^1^  disputes  at  the  close  of  the  reign  of  Queen  Anne 
^^^'      the  Huguenot  refugees  had  signified   their  wil- 
lingness  to   place   one    of  their   number   on   the 
throne  of  Great  Britain. 
Eeign  of         Eraric  reigned  only  five  months,  during  which 

Eraric,  .  c  -\  •        i  i  • 

May  to  time  he  performed  not  a  smgle  noteworthy  action 
541.  '  against  the  enemy,  but  devoted  his  chief  energies 
to  those  illusory  negotiations  with  Constantinople 
which  were  the  natural  resource  of  a  barbarian 
Negotia-  king  doubtful  of  the  loyalty  of  his  subjects.  He 
tween       Called  to2:ether  a  gfeneral  assembly  of  the  Goths, 

Eraric  and  i  ,  i  i  i 

Justinian,  and  proposcd  to  them  to  send  ambassadors  to 
Justinian,  ofiering  peace  upon  the  same  terms 
which  had  been  suggested  to  Witigis  :  all  Italy 
south  of  the  Po  to  be  the  Emperors,  the  rest 
to  belong  to  the  Goths.  The  assembly  approved, 
and  the  ambassadors  set  forth  on  their  journey ; 
but  it  is  scarcely  necessary  to  state  that  they 
bore  also  a  secret  commission  by  virtue  of  which 
Eraric  ofiered  to  sell  his  people  and  the  whole 
of  Haly  to  Justinian  upon  the  usual  terms,  the 
Patriciate,  a  large  sum  of  money,  and  a  splendid 
establishment  at  Constantinople. 
Dissatis-  Eut  in  the  mean  time  the  hearts  of  all  the 
the  Goths.  Gothic  people,  sore  for  the  loss  of  Ildibad,  from 
whose  mighty  arm  they  had  expected  deliverance, 
and  impatient  at  the  feeble  gropings  after  a  policy 
of  this  Kugian  kinglet  whom  accident  had  set 
over  them,  were  turning  with  more  and  more  of 
hope  and  loyalty  to  one  still  remaining  scion  of 

Short  reign  of  Eraric.  437 

the  house  of  Ildibad.     This  was  his  nephew  Ba-  book  v. 
duila,  a  man  still  yonng  for  command^,   but  one  '. L 

whose   courage   and   capacity   had    already    been  rpj^/^^^^^rn 
much   talked   of    at   the    council-table    and    the  ^^^f,^"^^^* 


banquet.     At  the  moment  of  his  uncle's  murder  ^^ephew  of 

^  ^  ^  ^  Ildibad. 

he  was  in  command  of  the  garrison  at  Treviso  : 
and  when  he  heard  the  tidings  of  that  lamentable 
event,  thinking  that  it  was  all  over  with  Gothic 
freedom,  he  sent  messengers  to  Eavenna  offering 
to  surrender  his  stronghold  on  receiving  pledges 
from  Constantian  for  the  safety  of  himself  and 
his  soldiers.  The  offer  was  gladly  accepted,  the 
day  for  the  surrender  fixed,  the  Roman  generals 
looked  upon  Treviso  as  already  theirs,  when  the 
whole  aspect  of  the  case  was  changed  by  a  depu- 
tation from  the  discontented  Goths  offering  the 
crown  to  Baduila.  The  young  chief  told  them  He  is  made 
with  perfect  openness  all  that  had  passed  between  stead  of 
him  and  Constantian,  but  agreed,  if  the  Rugian  who  is' 
adventurer  were  removed  before  the  day  fixed 
for  his  capitulation,  to  cancel  his  agreement  with 
Ravenna  and  to  accept  the  dangerous  honour  of 
the  kingship.  The  negotiations  of  Eraric  with 
the  Emperor,  both  those  which  were  avowed  and 
those  which  were  only  suspected,  no  doubt  hardened 
the  hearts  of  the  Gothic  patriots  against  him  and 

^  I  think  we  have  no  precise  indication  of  Totila's  age  at  his 
accession.  We  know,  however,  that  he  was  the  nephew  of 
Ildibad,  who  was  the  nephew  of  Theudis,  who  was  apparently 
a  somewhat  younger  contemporary  of  Theodoric.  Probably 
therefore  he  was  not  born  earlier  than  515,  and  was  about 
five  or  six  and  twenty  when  he  became  King. 

438  The  Elevation  of  Totila. 

BOOK  V.  quickened  their  zeal :    and  thus  it  came  to  pass 

^^'  ^^'    that  in  the  autumn  of  541,  long  before  the  mes- 

^'^^'      sengers  had  returned  from  Constantinople,  Eraric 

had  been  slain  by  the  conspirators  and  the  young 

Baduila  had  been  raised  on  the  shield  as  King. 

Double  The  unanimous  testimony  of  the  coins  of  the 

name,  Ba-  now  King  provcs  that  Baduila  was  that  form  of 

Totila.       his  name  by  which  he  himself  chose  to  be  known ^ 

From  some  cause,  however,  which  has  not  been 

explained,  he  was  also  known  even  to  the  Goths  ^ 

as  Totila,  and  this  name  is  the  only  one  which 

seems   to   have   reached  the   ears   of  the   Greek 

historians.     It  is  useless  now  to  attempt  to  appeal 

from  their  decision,  and  the  name  Totila  is  that 

by  which  he  will  be  mentioned  henceforward  in 

this  history. 

Totiia's  The  new  King  wielded  the  Ostrogothic  sceptre 


for  eleven  years,  a  longer  period  than  any  of  his 
predecessors  since  the  great  Theodoric.  Coming 
to  the  help  of  his  countrymen  when  their  cause 
seemed  sunk  below  hope,  he  succeeded  in  raising 
it  to  a  height  of  glory  such  as  even  under  Theo- 

^  Friedlaender  (Die  Mtinzen  der  Ostgothen,  46-51),  after 
enumerating  several  types  of  silver  and  copper  coinage  bearing 
the  name  of  D(ominus)  N(oster)  Baduila  Eex,  says  emphatically, 
'  The  name  of  Totila  occurs  on  not  a  single  coin.' 

^  I  think  the  fact  that  Jordanes  uses  and  prefers  this  form 
justifies  us  in  making  this  assertion.  He  begins  by  saying  (De 
Regn.  Successione,  379),  'Malo  Italiae  Baduila  juvenis  nepus 
(sic)  asciscitur  Heldebadi/  A  few  lines  later  we  find,  '  Totila 
qui  Baduila  hostile  opus  in  Italia  peragit : '  and  after  this  he  is 
always  Totila  in  Jordanes.  It  may  be  noticed  that  Jordanes 
once  makes  the  accusative  Totilam,  and  twice  Totilanem. 

Totila  King.  439 

doric  himself  it  had  scarcely  surpassed.     Though  book  v. 

almost  the  last,  he  was  quite  the  noblest  flower  '. '^ 

that  bloomed  upon  the  Ostrogothic  stem,  gentle,  ^^^' 
just,  and  generous,  as  well  as  a  valiant  soldier  and 
an  able  statesman.  Though  he  first  appears  before 
us,  engaged  in  somewhat  doubtful  transactions, 
breaking  his  agreement  with  Constantian  and 
counselling  the  death  of  Eraric,  he  is  upon  the 
whole  one  of  the  best  types  of  the  still  future  age 
of  chivalry  that  the  Downfall  of  the  Empire  can 
exhibit :  and  in  fact  we  may  truthfully  say  of  him 
in  the  words  of  Chaucer — 

*  He  was  a  very  perfite  gentil  knight.' 
The  tidings  of  the  ill-success  of  the  Imperial  The  gene- 
arms  and  of  the  death  of  Eraric  were  conveyed  manded  by 
to  Justinian,  who  sent  a  severe  reprimand  to  the 
generals  for  their  supineness  and  misgovernment. 
Stung  by  this  rebuke,  having  assembled  a  council 
of  war  at  Kavenna,  at  which  all  the  chief  generals 
were  present  as  well  as  Alexander  the  Logothete, 
they   resolved    to    besiege   Yerona,   the    key    to 
Totila's  Venetian  province,  and  as  soon  as  that  city 
was  taken  to  press  on  to  Pavia  and  extinguish  the 
Gothic  monarchy  in  its  last  asylum.     The  plan 
was  strategically  sound,  and  its  failure  was  only 
due  to  the  really  ludicrous  rapacity  of  the  generals. 
An  army  of  12,000  men,  under  the  command  ofr>esignson 


eleven  generals ^  advanced  into  the  wide  and  fertile 

*  "Apxoi^fs  §€  ahruiv  cvdcKa  rjaav  (Proc.  iii.  3).  I  am  not  quite 
sure  that  Gibbon  is  right  in  inferring  from  this  passage  that 
the  number  of  generals  in  Italy  with  supreme  and  equal  powers 

440  The  Elevation  of  Totila, 

BOOK  V.  plains  south  of  Verona,  where  their  cavalry  could 
^"'  ^^'  operate  with  great  advantages  against  the  enemy. 
^^^'  Moreover,  a  nobleman  of  the  province  of  Venetia 
named  Marcian,  who  dwelt  near  to  Verona  and 
favoLired  the  Imperial  caused  sent  word  to  the 
generals  that  he  had  bribed  one  of  the  sentinels 
to  open  a  gate  of  that  city  to  the  Imperial  forces. 
The  generals,  not  feeling  absolutely  sure  that  this 
offer  was  made  in  good  faith,  invited  volunteers 
for  the  dangerous  task  of  commanding  a  small 
picked  force,  which  should  advance  in  front  of  the 
army  and  be  admitted  under  cover  of  night  within 

Artabazes  the  walls  of  Vcroua.    No  one  was  willing  to  under- 

\"olunteers         i  i  i  i  »  i  -r»         •  i  • 

to  enter  take  the  duty  but  Artabazes,  a  rersian^,  who  m 
the  Eastern  campaign  of  541  had  attached  himself 
to  the  fortunes  of  Belisarius  and  had  been  sent  by 
him  to  serve  in  the  Italian  war.  Having  selected 
one  hundred  and  twenty  of  the  bravest  men  in  the 
army  ^  he  advanced  at  dead  of  night  to  the  walls, 
and  was  admitted  inside  the  gate  by  the  sentinel, 
faithful  in  his  treachery  :  his  followers  then  slew 
the  surrounding  guards  and  mounted  to  the  battle- 
was  eleven.  All  the  supreme  generals  might  not  share  the 
expedition  to  Verona,  and  all  the  e^Sfxa  apxovres  need  not  have 
been  supreme  generals. 

^  There  cannot  be  much  doubt  that  Marcian  was  of  Koman, 
not  Gothic  origin,  though  this  is  not  expressly  stated  by 

^  Probably  an  inhabitant  of  Armenia,  the  Afghanistan  of  the 
two  empires,  in  which  there  was  always  both  a  Roman  and 
a  Persian  party. 

^  Not  'one  hundred  Persians'  (Gibbon,  v.  215,  ed.  Smith). 
They  were  ck  tov  navros  aTpairoTzebov  aTToXcxOevres. 

Failure  of  the  Imperialists  at  Verona.     441 

ments.   The  Goths,  finding  out  what  had  happened,  book  v. 

threw  up  the  game,  retired  through  the  northern '. L 

gate  to  one  of  the  hills  overlooking  the  town,  and      ^^^' 
there  passed  the  night. 

With  the  smallest  fraction  of  military  capacity  The  enter- 
the  important  city  of  V  erona  would  now  have  been 
recovered  for  the  Emperor.  But  the  eleven  gene- 
rals, having  started  with  the  bulk  of  the  army 
at  the  appointed  time,  began,  when  they  were  still 
five  miles  distant,  to  dispute  as  to  the  division  of 
the  spoil.  The  quarrel  was  at  length  adjusted,  but 
meantime  the  sun  had  risen,  and  there  was  broad 
daylight  over  the  old  amphitheatre,  over  the 
swirling  Adige,  over  the  streets  and  market-places 
of  Verona.  The  Goths  from  their  hill-side  took  in 
the  whole  position  of  affairs,  and  saw  by  what  an 
insignificant  band  they  had  been  ousted  from  the 
city.  Bushing  in  again  by  the  northern  gate,  of 
which  they  had  not  given  up  possession,  they  drove 
Artabazes  and  his  band  to  take  refuge  behind  the 
battlements  of  the  southern  portion  of  the  wall  ^. 
At  this  moment  the  Roman  army  and  the  eleven 
generals  arrived  under  the  walls  and  found  all  the 
gates  barred,  and  all  the  circuit  of  the  city,  except 
one  small  part,  occupied  by  their  foes.  Vainly  did 
Artabazes  and  his  friends  shout  to  them  for  help. 
They  withdrew  with  all  speed,  and  the  little  band 
whom  they  thus  left  to  their  fate  had  no  resource 
but  to  leap  headlong  from  the  battlements.     The 

'  Probably  a  covered  way  ran  round  the  inner  side  of  the 
wall,  as  in  the  fortifications  of  Rome. 

442  The  Elevation  of  Totila, 

BOOKv.  greater  number  were  killed  by  the  fall.     A  few 

Ch.  15 

who  had  the  good-fortune  to  alight  on  smooth  soft 
'^^'^'  ground  escaped.  Among  these  latter  was  Arta- 
bazes,  who,  when  he  reached  the  camp,  inveighed 
bitterly  against  the  cowardice  and  incapacity  of  the 
generals,  which  had  brought  so  promising  an  enter- 
prise to  disaster. 
The  gene-       Kecoc^nisinp;  the  failure  of  their  desigfn  to  re- 

rals  march  . 

to  Faenza.  couquor  Vcnetia,  the  whole  army  crossed  the  Po 
and  mustered  again  near  Faventia,  a  town  on  the 
JEmilian  Way,  about  twenty  miles  ^  south-west  of 
Ravenna.  This  place  still  survives  in  the  modern 
Faenza,  a  bright  little  city  of  the  plain,  nestling 
under  the  shadow  of  the  Apennines.  Its  early 
advances  in  the  ceramic  art  have  made  the  name 
oi faience  familiar  to  all  French  dealers  in  earthen- 

Totila  When  Totila  learned  what  had  passed  at  Verona 

marches  c*        ^  '   ^     ^   '  ^      ^  •  *         p     ^ 

after  them,  he  set  forth  With  his  whole  army  m  pursuit  oi  the 
Roman  generals.  So  dwindled,  however,  was  the 
Gothic  force,  that  those  words  *  the  whole  army ' 
still  described  a  force  of  only  five  thousand  men. 

The  coun-  While  he  was  still  on  the  northern  bank  of  the  Po, 

sel  of  Arta- 

bazes  not    Artabazcs,  who  had  not  ridden  in  vain  beside  Beli- 

taken.  ,  ,  i     •  i 

sarins  to  battle,  and  who  is  the  only  soldier  whose 
deeds  shed  a  brief  lustre  across  this  part  of  the  an- 
nals of  the  Imperial  army,  implored  his  brother  gene- 
rals to  attack  the  barbarians  in  the  act  of  crossing, 
so  that  they  might  have  only  one  part  of  the  Gothic 
force  to  deal  with  at  once.  He  truly  said  that  they 
^  Procopius's  estimate,  120  stadia,  is  rather  under  the  mark. 

Battle  of  Faenza,  443 

need  not  trouble  their  minds  about  the  alleged  in-  book  v. 
gloriousness  of  such  a  victory.   In  war  success  was      ^'     ' 

everything,  and  if  they  defeated  the  foe,  men  would  ^^^" 
not  narrowly  scrutinise  the  means  by  which  they  had 
overcome.  But  the  generals,  having  each  his  own 
scheme  for  conducting  the  campaign,  could  accept 
no  common  plan  of  action,  not  even  the  obvious 
one  suggested  by  Artabazes,  but  remained  inactive 
in  the  plain  of  Faenza,  for  which  course  they  had, 
it  must  be  admitted,  one  excuse,  in  that  they  there- 
by barred  the  JEmilian  Way  against  the  southward 
progress  of  the  invader. 

Here  then  Totila,  having  crossed  the  Po  without  Totiia's 
opposition,  met  the  many-generalled  forces  of  the  Ms  soi- 
enemy.  In  a  most  spirit-stirring  speech  he  called 
upon  his  soldiers  for  one  supreme  effort  of  valour. 
He  did  not  dissemble  the  difficulties  of  their  situa- 
tion. The  Eomans  if  defeated  could  take  shelter 
in  their  fortresses,  or  could  await  reinforcements 
from  Byzantium ;  but  ihey  had  no  such  hope. 
Defeat  for  them  meant  ruin,  the  utter  ruin  of  the 
Gothic  cause  in  Italy.  But,  on  the  other  hand, 
victory  earned  that  day  would  bring  with  her  every 
promise  for  the  days  to  come.  Blundering  and 
defeat  had  reduced  the  army  of  the  Goths  from  two 
hundred  thousand  men  to  one  thousand,  and  their 
kingdom  from  the  fair  land  of  Italy  to  the  single 
city  of  Ticinum.  But  then,  one  victory  gained  by 
the  gallant  Ildibad  had  multiplied  their  numbers 
five-fold,  and  had  given  them  for  one  city  all  the 
lands  north  of  the  great  river.     Another  victory 

444  The  Elevation  of  Totila. 

BOOK  V.  now,  with  the  blessing  of  God  on  their  endeavours, 
^^'  ^^'    with  the  favour  and  sympathy  of  all  the  Italians 
^'^'^'      wearied  out  by  the  exactions  of  the  Byzantine  tax- 
gatherers,  might  restore  to  them  all  that  they  had 
lost.     And  such  a  victory  they  might  surely  win 
against  the  recent  dastards  of  Verona. 
Battle  of        After  this  harangue  Totila  selected  three  hundred 

Faenza.  . 

men,  who  were  to  cross  the  river  ^  at  a  pomt  two 
miles  and  a-half  distant  and  fall  upon  the  rear  of 
the  enemy  when  the  battle  was  joined.  Then  the 
two  armies  set  themselves  in  battle  array;  but 
before  the  fight  began,  one  of  those  single  combats 
in  which  the  barbarians  in  both  armies  delighted, 
and  which  seem  more  congenial  to  the  instincts  of 
mediaeval  chivalry  than  to  the  scientific  discipline 
of  the  old  Imperial  legion,  occupied  the  attention 
Single  of  both  armies.  A  Goth,  mighty  in  stature  and 
between  terrible  in  aspect,  Wiliaris  by  name,  completely 
andArta-  armed,  with  helmet  and  coat  of  mail,  rode  forth 
into  the  space  between  the  two  armies,  and, 
Goliath-like,  challenged  the  Romans  to  an  en- 
counter. All  shrank  from  accepting  the  challenge 
except  the  gallant  Persian,  Artabazes.  Couching 
their  spears  at  one  another  the  two  champions 
spurred  their  horses  to  a  gallop.  The  Persian's 
spear  penetrated  the  right  lung  of  the  Goth.  In- 
stant death  followed,  but  the  spear  in  the  dead 

^  What  river  ?  Not  the  Po,  which  is  nearly  sixty  miles 
north  of  Faenza.  Probably  the  Anemo  (now  Lamone),  which 
flows  in  a  north-easterly  direction  past  the  town.  But  the 
want  of  clearness  in  topographical  detail  makes  it  probable 
that  Procopius  was  not  an  eye-witness  of  this  engagement. 


Death  of  Artabazes.  445 

man's  hand,  having  become  jammed  against  a  piece  book  v. 
of  rock  below  him,  prevented  him  from  falling  and L 

gave  him  still  the  erect  attitude  of  life.  Artabazes  ^^^' 
pressed  on  to  complete  his  victory,  and  drew  his 
sword  to  smite  his  enemy  through  his  coat  of  mail, 
but  in  doing  so,  by  some  sudden  swerve  of  his  horse, 
his  own  neck  was  grazed  by  the  upright  spear  of 
the  dead  Wiliaris.  It  seemed  a  mere  scratch  at 
first,  and  he  rode  back  in  triumph  to  his  comrades  : 
but  an  artery  had  been  pierced,  the  blood  would 
not  be  stanched,  and  in  three  days  the  gallant 
Artabazes  was  numbered  with  the  dead.  Thus  did 
a  dead  man  slay  the  living. 

While  Artabazes,  out  of  the  reach  of  bow-shot.  Defeat  of 
was  vainly  endeavouring  to  stanch  his  wound,  the  rial  army. 
battle  was  going  ill  with  the  Eomans.  Totila's 
three  hundred  men  appearing  in  the  rear  were 
taken  for  the  vanguard  of  another  army,  and 
completed  the  incipient  panic.  The  generals  fled 
headlong  from  the  field,  one  to  take  refuge  in  one 
city,  another  in  another.  Multitudes  of  the  soldiers 
were  slain,  multitudes  taken  prisoners  and  sent  to 
a  place  of  safety ;  and  all  the  standards  fell  into 
the  hands  of  the  enemy,  a  disgrace  which,  Proco- 
pius  assures  us,  had  never  before  befallen  a  Roman 

Totila  now  found  himself  strong  enough  to  strike  Totiia  in 

boldly  across  the  Apennines — probably  taking,  not  April  (?),' 


^  But  this  must  surely  be  a  mistake.  At  the  Caudine  Forks 
and  at  Carrhae,  to  mention  no  other  defeats  of  the  Komans,  all 
the  standards  must  have  been  lost. 

446  The  Elevation  of  Totila, 

BOOKV.  the  Flaminian  but  the  Cassian  Way — and  so  try 

^^'  ^^'    to  gain  a  footing  in  Tuscany.     With  this  view  he 

^^'^'      sent  a  detachment  of  soldiers^  to  besiege  Florence. 

Fiesole,    on   its   inaccessible   height,  he   probably 

Florence  deemed  too  difficult  for  his  little  army.  Justin, 
who  had  distinguished  himself  in  these  regions 
three  years  before,  was  now  commandant  of  the 
Imperial  garrison  of  Florence ;  but,  fearing  that 
he  was  too  weak  in  men  and  provisions  to  hold  out 
long,  he  sent  messengers  by  night  to  Eavenna  to 
ask  for  relief  A  force,  probably  a  strong  force,  was 
sent  to  his  aid  under  the  command  of  his  old 
friend  and  colleague  Cyprian,  together  with  John 
and  Bessas.  At  the  approach  of  this  large  body  of 
troops  the  Goths  raised  the  siege  of  Florence  and 
retreated  northwards  up  the  valley  of  the  Sieve, 
which  still  bears  in  popular  usage  the  name  by 
which  Procopius  calls  it,  the  valley  of  Mugello^. 
It  was  thought  unadvisable  by  the  Imperial  generals 
to  risk  an  engagement  with  their  whole  force  in  the 
gorges  of  the  mountains,  and  it  was  decided  that 
one  of  their  number,  with  a  picked  body  of  troops, 
should  seek  out  and  engage  the  Goths,  while  the 

Battle  of    rest  of  the  army  followed  at  their  leisure.     The 

Mugello,  ,  .    . 

lot  fell  on  John  the  venturesome  and  precipitate, 
who,  nothing  loth,  pushed  on  up  the  rocky  valley. 
The  Goths  had  stationed  themselves  on  a  hill,  from 

^  Under  the  command  of  Bleda,  Roderic,  and  Uliaris.  The 
first  name  reminds  us  of  the  brother  of  Attila,  the  second,  of 
the  last  Visigothic  King,  the  third,  of  the  just  slain  Wiliaris. 

^  'Ai/e^to/jj/o-ay  eis  ;^capioi/  Mot/KeXXiyi/  opofia.  For  some  reason  or 
other  this  name  Mugello  has  disappeared  from  onr  modern  maps. 

Battle  of  Mugello.  447 

which  they  rushed  down  with  loud  shouts  upon  book  v. 

the  foe.     There  was  a  little  w^avering  in  the  Eo-  ^ L 

man  ranks.  John,  with  loud  shouts  and  eager  ^'^^* 
gestures,  encouraged  his  men,  but  one  of  his 
guardsmen,  a  prominent  figure  in  the  ranks,  was 
slain  ;  and  in  the  confused  noise  of  the  battle  it 
was  rumoured  that  John  himself  had  fallen.  Then 
came  wild  panic  :  the  Koman  troops  swept  down 
the  valley,  and  when  they  met  the  solid  squadrons 
of  their  fellow-soldiers,  and  told  them  the  terrible 
tidings  of  the  death  of  the  bravest  of  the  generals, 
they  too  caught  the  infection  of  fear  and  fled  in 
disgraceful  and  disorderly  flight.  Many  were  slain 
by  the  pursuing  Goths.  Some  having  been  taken 
prisoners,  were  treated  with  the  utmost  kindness 
by  the  politic  Totila,  and  even  induced  in  large 
numbers  to  take  service  under  his  standard.  But 
others  went  galloping  on  for  days  through  Italy, 
pursued  by  no  man,  but  bearing  everywhere  the 
same  demoralising  tidings  of  rout  and  ruin,  and 
rested  not  till  they  found  themselves  behind  the 
walls  of  some  distant  fortress,  where  they  might 
at  least  for  a  time  breathe  in  safety  from  the  fear 
of  Totila. 

Such,  according  to  Procopius,  was  the  battle,  or  Central 
rather  the  headlong  rout,  of  Mugello.      He  was  em  itaiy 
not  an  eye-witness  of  the  scene,  and  one  is  inclined  throoths 
to  conjecture  that  he  has  overrated  the  element  of  battle! 
mere  panic  and  underrated  the  strategic  skill  of 
the  Goths,  who  had  apparently  posted  themselves 
on  some  coign  of  vantage  among  the  hills  from 


448  The  Elevation  of  Totila. 

BOOKV.  which  they  could  inflict  deadly  injury  on  the 
^^'  ^^'  foe,  themselves  almost  unharmed.  But,  whatever 
542.  were  the  details  of  the  fight,  it  seems  to  have 
opened  the  whole  of  Central  and  Southern  Italy  to 
Totila.  Cesena,  Urbino,  Montefeltro^  Petra  Per- 
tusa,  all  those  Umbrian  fortresses  which  it  had 
cost  Belisarius  two  years  of  hard  fighting  to  win, 
were  now  lost  to  Justinian.  Totila  pressed  on  into 
Etruria.  There  no  great  fortress  seems  to  have 
surrendered  to  him,  and  he  would  not  repeat  the 
error  of  Witigis  by  dashing  his  head  against  the 
Totila  in  stouo  walls  of  Eomo.  He  therefore  crossed  the 
and  Cam-  Tiber,  marchcd  southwards  through  Campania  and 
Samnium,  easily  took  Beneventum,  and  rased  its 
walls,  that  no  Byzantine  host  might  shelter  there 
in  time  to  come.  The  sti-onghold  of  Cumae  with  a 
large  store  of  treasure  fell  into  his  hands.  In 
the  same  place  was  a  little  colony  of  aristocratic 
refugees,  the  wives  and  daughters  of  the  Senators. 
Totila  treated  them  with  every  mark  of  courtesy, 
and  dismissed  them  unhurt  to  their  husbands  and 
fathers,  an  act  of  chivalry  which  made  a  deep  im- 
pression on  the  minds  of  the  Eomans.  All  the 
southern  provinces  of  Italy,  Apulia,  Calabria, 
Bruttii,  and  Lucania,  were  overrun  by  his  troops. 
Not  all  the  fortresses  in  thes^  parts  were  yet  his, 
but  he  collected  securely  and  at  his  ease  both  the 
rent  of  the  landowner  and  the  revenue  of  the  Em- 
peror.    The   oppressions  of  the    Logothetes   had 

^  The  names  of  Urbino  and  Montefeltro  are  given  on  the 
authority  of  Marcellinus  Comes. 

Inaction  of  the  Imperial  Generals,        449 

revealed  to  all  men  that  one  great  motive  for  the  book  v. 

Imperial  re-conquest  of  Italy  was  revenue ;   and  '. — L 

Totila,  by  anticipating  the  visit  of  the  tax-gatherer,      ^^'^' 
stabbed  Justinian's  administration  in  a  vital  part. 
The  barbarian  auxiliaries  could  not  be  paid  :  de- 
sertions from  the  Imperial  standard  became  more 
and  more  frequent ;    all  the  prizes  of  valour  were 
seen  to  glitter  in  the  hand  of  the  young  Gothic 
hero,  who,  encouraged  by  his  marvellous  success, 
determined  to  wrest  from  the  Emperor  the  first- 
fruits  of  Belisarius's  campaigns  in  Italy.     He  sat  Totiia 
down  before  the  walls  of  Naples,  which  was  held  Naples. 
by   a  garrison    of  a  thousand  men,  chiefly  Isau- 
rians,  under  the  command  of  Conon. 

This  sudden  transformation  of  the  political  scene  inaction 
took  place  m  the  summer  oi  542.  And  what  mean-  dity  of  the 
while  were  the  Imperial  generals  doing  \  Without  generals. 
unity  of  action  or  the  semblance  of  concerted  plan 
they  were  each  cowering  over  the  treasure  which 
they  had  succeeded  in  accumulating,  and  which 
was  stored  in  the  several  fortresses  under  their 
command.  Thus  Consbantian  had  shut  himself 
up  in  Eavenna ;  John,  not  slain  but  a  fugitive 
from  Mugello,  in  Eome  ;  Bessas  at  Spoleto  ;  Justin 
at  Florence  (which  had  not,  after  all,  fallen  into 
the  hands  of  the  Goths)  ;  and  his  friend  Cyprian 
at  Perugia.  Like  islands  these  high  fortresses 
occupied  by  the  Imperial  soldiers  stand  out  above 
the  wide-spreading  sea  of  Gothic  re-conquest. 
Even  the  victorious  Totila  will  not  be  safe  till 
he  has  reduced  them  also  to  submission. 

VOL.  IV.  G  g 

450  The  Elevation  of  Totila. 

BOOK  V.       The  terrible  news  of  the  re-establishment  of  the 

_!^1^  Gothic    kingdom    in   Italy   filled   Justinian  with 

^^  ^f\      sorrow  at  the  thou2;ht  of  all  his  wasted  men  and 

appointed  troasuro.     Not  yet,  however,  was  he  brousrht  to 

General-m-  ^  .  . 

chief.  the  point  of  entrusting  the  sole  command  to  Beli- 
sarius :  that  remedy  still  seemed  to  him  worse 
than  the  disease.  He  would  end,  however,  the 
anarchy  of  the  generals  by  appointing  one  man 
as  Praetorian  Prefect  of  Italy  \  who  should  have 
supreme  power  over  all  the  armies  of  the  Empire 
within  the  peninsula.  This  was  a  wise  measure  in 
itself,  but  the  holder  of  the  office  was  badly  chosen. 
Maximin,  the  new  Prefect  2,  was  quite  inexperienced 
in  war,  of  a  sluggish  and  cowardly  temper ;  and 
though  the  generals  under  him,  Herodian  the  com- 
mander of  the  Thracians  ^  and  Phazas  nephew  of 
Peranius,  who  came  from  the  gorges  of  the  Cau- 
casus and  commanded  a  brave  band  of  Armenian 
mountaineers,  knew  somewhat  more  about  the 
business  of  war,  their  martial  energy  was  dead- 
ened by  the  feebleness  of  their  chief. 
Demetrius  Thls  uew  appointment  was  made  apparently  in 
to  relieve  the  autumu  of  542.  Tiic  timid  Maximin,  afraid  to 
^^  ^^'      face  the  unquiet  Hadriatic  in  November,  lingered, 

^  Apparently  the  office  had  been  vacant  since  the  departure 
of  Belisarius. 

^  Probably  the  same  Maximin  who  had  been  sent  as  am- 
bassador to  Witigis  in  540  (see  p.  379,  where  his  name  is  in- 
advertently given  as  Maximus). 

^  Herodian  was  left  in  charge  of  Naples  after  its  surrender. 
He  also  distinguished  himself  at  the  siege  of  Eimini.  It  was 
perhaps  on  account  of  some  special  devotion  to  Belisarius  that 
he  returned  with  that  general  to  Constantinople  in  540. 

Totila  besieges  Naples,  451 

upon  one  pretence  or  another,    on   the   coast  of  book  v. 

Ch.  15. 


Epirus.  All  the  time  the  distress  of  Conon  and 
the  beleaguered  garrison  of  Naples  was  growing 
more  severe.  Demetrius,  another  officer  of  the  old 
army  of  Belisarius,  who  had  been  despatched  from 
Constantinople  after  Maximin,  perhaps  to  quicken 
his  movements,  sailed  to  Sicily  and  there  collected 
a  large  fleet  of  merchantmen,  which  he  filled  with 
provisions,  hoping  by  the  mere  size  of  his  arma- 
ment to  overawe  the  Goths  and  succeed  in  re- 
victualling  Naples.  Had  he  sailed  thither  at  once 
his  bold  calculation  would  probably  have  been 
verified  :  but  unfortunately  he  wasted  time  in  a 
fruitless  journey  to  Eome,  where  he  hoped  to  enlist 
volunteers  for  the  relief  of  the  besieged  city. 
The  discontented  and  demoralised  soldiers  refused 
to  follow  his  standard,  and  after  all  he  appeared  in 
the  Bay  of  Naples  with  only  his  provision-ships 
and  the  troops  which  he  himself  had  brought 
from  Constantinople. 

When  the  fleet  of  Demetrius  was  approaching  The  other 
the  bay  a  little  boat  appeared,  in  which  sat  his  in  Naples^ 
namesake,  another  Demetrius,  a  Cephalonian  sea- 
man whose  nautical  skill  had  been  of  the  highest 
service  to  Belisarius  in  his  Italian  and  African 
voyages.  This  man  was  now  Financial  Adminis- 
trator^ of  the  city  of  Naples  for  the  Emperor. 
He  had  good  reason  to  wish  for  the  success  of  his 
namesake  the  general,  since  when  Totila  first  sum- 

*  I  use  a  vague  term,  not  knowing  into  what  title  of  the 
Notitia  to  translate  the  eViVpoTroff  of  Procopius. 

Gg  2 

452  The  Elevation  of  Totila. 

BOOKV.  moned  the  citizens   to  surrender  he  had  assailed 

^^'  ^^'    the  stately  and  silent  barbarian  with  such  a  torrent 

^^'^'      of  voluble  abuse  as  only  a  foul-mouthed  Greek 

could  utter.    He  had  now  come,  at  great  hazard  of 

his  life,  to  inform  the  general  of  the  distress  of  the 

beleaguered  city  and  to  quicken  his  zeal  for  its 


Totila  de-       But,  during   the   ill-advised  journey   to  Eome, 

ffiSitS  "til© 

relieving  Totila  also  had  obtained  information  of  the  move- 
ments and  character  of  the  relieving  squadron.  He 
had  prepared  a  fleet  of  cutters  ^  lightly  loaded 
and  easily  handled,  and  with  these  he  dashed  into 
the  fleet  of  heavy  merchantmen  as  soon  as  they 
had  rounded  the  promontory  of  Misenum  and 
entered  the  Bay  of  Naples.  The  unwieldy  and 
feebly -armed  vessels  were  at  once  steered  for 
flight.  All  of  the  ships,  all  of  their  cargoes,  most 
of  the  men  on  board,  were  taken.  Some  of  the 
soldiers  were  slain ;  a  few  who  were  on  board  the 
hindermost  vessels  of  the  fleet  were  able  to  escape 
in  boats.      Among  these  fugitives  was  Demetrius 

His  cruelty  the  general.     His  namesake,  the  unhappy  sailor- 

Neapoiitan  orator,  fell  into  the  hands  of  Totila,  who  ordered 
'  his  abusive  tongue  and  the  hands  that  had  been 
probably  too  greedy  of  gold  to  be  cut  ofl",  and 
then  suffered  the  miserable  man  to  go  whither 
he  would.  A  cruel  and  unkinglj^  deed,  not  worthy 
of  the  gallant  Totila. 

Maximin        Meanwhile   the  Prefect  Maximin  arrived  with 

lingers  at        , .     _  .  . 

Syracuse,    all    his    armament   m   the   harbour  of  Syracuse. 

^  Dromones. 

Attempts  to  relieve  Naples.  453 

Having  reached  the  friendly  shore  he  would  not  book  v. 
again  leave  it,  though  all  the  generals  sent  mes-      °' 
sages  urging  him  to  go  to  the  assistance  of  Con  on.      ^^'^' 
But,  at  length,  fear  of  the  Emperor's  wrath  so  far 
overcame  his  other  fears  that  he  sent  his  whole 
armament    to    Naples    under    the    command    of 
Herodian,  Demetrius,  and  Phazas,  tarrying  himself 
quietly  at  Syracuse.     By  this  time  the  winter  was  January(?), 
far  advanced  and  sailing  was  indeed  dangerous. 
A  tremendous  storm  sprang  up  just  as  the  fleet  The  storm, 
entered  the  Bay  of  Naples.     Phazas  the  Armenian 
seems  to  have  at  once   abandoned  all   hope,  and 
fled   before   the    storm.       The   rowers   could   not 
draw  their  oars  out  of  the  water,  the   deafening 
roar  of  the  wind  and  waves  drowned  the   word 
of  command  if  any  officer  had  presence  of  mind 
enough  to  utter  it,  and,  in  short,  all  the  ships 
but  a  very  few  were  dashed  on  shore  by  the  fury 
of  the   gale.     Of  course   in   these   circumstances 
their  crews  fell  a  helpless  prey  to  the  Goths  who 
lined  the  coast. 

Herodian  and  Phazas  with  a  very  few  others  Demetrius 
escaped.  Demetrius,  this  time,  fell  into  the  hands  soner. 
of  the  enemy.  With  a  halter  round  his  neck  he 
was  led  in  front  of  the  walls  of  the  city,  and  was 
then  compelled — but  a  man  who  called  himself 
the  countryman  of  Kegulus  should  not  have  yielded 
to  such  compulsion — to  harangue  the  citizens  in 
such  words  as  Totila  dictated.  The  speech  was 
all  upon  the  necessity  of  surrender,  the  impos- 
sibility of  resisting  the  Goths,  the  powerlessness 

454  The  Elevation  of  Totila, 

BOOKv.  of  the  Emperor,  whose  great  armament  had  just 

^^'  ^^'    been  shattered  before  their  eyes,  to  prepare  another 

^^^'      for   their   deliverance.       Cries    and    lamentations 

filled  all  the  city  when  the  inhabitants,  after  their 

long  sufferings  bravely  borne,  heard  such  counsels 

of  despair  coming  from  the  lips  of  a  Eoman  general 

standing  in  such  humiliating  guise  before  them. 

Totiia's      Totila,  who  knew  what  their  frame  of  mind  must 


words  to     be,  invited  them  to  the  battlements  and  there  held 

the  Nea- 
politans,    parley.     He  told  them  that    he    had    no    grudge 

in  his  heart  against  the  citizens  of  Naples,  but, 
on  the  contrary,  would  ever  remember  their  fidelity 
to  the  Gothic  crown  and  the  stout  defence  which 
they  had  made  against  Belisarius  seven  years 
before,  when  every  other  city  in  Italy  was  rushing 
into  rebellion.  Neither  ought  they  on  their  part 
to  bear  any  grudge  against  him  for  the  hardships 
which  the  siege  had  caused  them,  and  which  were 
all  part  of  the  kindly  violence  by  which  he  would 
force  them  back  into  the  path  of  happiness  which 
they  had  quitted.  He  then  offered  his  terms : 
leave  to  Conon  and  his  soldiers  to  depart  whither- 
soever they  would,  taking  all  their  possessions  with 
them,  and  a  solemn  oath  for  the  safety  of  every 
Neapolitan  citizen. 
Surrender       The  tcrms  wcre  erenerous,  and  both  citizens  and 

of  Naples.  , 

soldiers,  pressed  by  hunger  and  pestilence^,  were 
eager  to  accept  them.  Loyalty  to  the  Emperor, 
however,  made  them  still  consent  to  the  surrender 

■^   noXXj)  yap  avayK-r]  avroits  tov  Xoifxov  eVi'e^e.      The  Latin  version 

has  (inaccurately),  '  Urgente  famis  necessitate.' 

Surrender  of  Naples.  455 

only   in    the    event    of   no    help    reaching    them  book  v. 

within  thirty   days.      Totila,  with    that   instinct  '  " . 

of  repartee  which  shone  forth  in  him,  and  which  ^^^' 
was  more  like  a  Greek  than  a  Goth,  replied, 
'  Take  three  months  if  you  will.  I  am  certain 
that  no  succours  in  that  time  will  arrive  from 
Byzantium.'  And  with  that  he  promised  to  ab- 
stain for  ninety  days  from  all  attacks  upon  their 
fortifications,  but  did  not  repeat  the  blunder  of 
Witigis,  in  allowing  the  process  of  revictualling 
to  go  forward  during  the  truce.  Disheartened 
and  worn  out  with  famine,  the  citizens  surrendered 
the  place  long  before  the  appointed  day,  and  May,  543. 
Naples  again  became  subject  to  Gothic  rule. 

On  becoming  master  of  the  city,  Totila  showed  Totiia's 
a    thoughtful    kindness   towards   the   inhabitants,  feeding  the 
such  as,  in  the  emphatic  words  of  Procopius,  could 
have  been  expected  neither  from  an  enemy  nor 
a  barbarian^.     To  obviate  the   evil   consequences 
of  overfeeding   after    their    long    abstinence,   he 
posted  soldiers  in  the  gates  and  at  the  harbour 
with  orders  to  let  none  of  the  inhabitants  leave 
the  city.     Each   house  was   then    supplied   with 
rations  of  food  on   a   very   moderate   scale,  and 
the  portion  given  was   daily   and   insensibly   in- 
creased till  the   people  were  again  on  full  diet. 
Conon  and  his  soldiers  were  provided  with  ships,  Generous 
which  were  ordered  to  take  them  to  any  port  that  orconon 
they  might  name.     Fearing  to    be  taunted  with  ^en.^'^ 

^   ^iXavdpioniav  es  tovs  rjXcoKOTas  eTreSft^nro  ovre  TroXefxlw  ovre  ^ap- 
^dp(d  dv8p\  npeTTOvaav. 

456  The  Elevation  of  Totila. 

BOOKV.  their  surrender  if  they  went  to  Constantinople, 
_2lii'_  they  elected  to  be  taken  to  Kome.  The  wind, 
^^^'  however,  proved  so  contrary  that  they  were  obliged 
to  return  on  shore.  They  feared  that  the  Gothic 
King  might  regard  himself  as  now  absolved  from 
his  promises  and  might  treat  them  as  foes.  Far 
from  it :  he  summoned  them  to  his  presence, 
renewed  his  promises  of  protection,  and  bade  them 
mingle  freely  with  his  soldiers  and  buy  in  his 
camp  whatever  they  had  need  of  As  the  wind 
still  continued  contrary,  he  provided  them  with 
horses  and  beasts  of  burden,  gave  them  provisions 
for  the  way,  and  started  them  on  their  road  for 
Rome,  assigning  to  them  some  Gothic  warriors 
of  reputation  by  way  of  escort.  And  this,  though 
his  own  heart  was  set  "on  taking  Rome  and  he 
knew  that  these  men  were  going  to  swell  the 
ranks  of  her  defenders. 
Fortifica-  In  conformity  with  his  uniform  policy  (borrowed 
Naples  dis-  perfiaps  from  the  traditions  of  Gaiseric),  he  then 
dismantled  the  walls  of  Naples,  or  at  least  a 
sufficient  portion  of  them  to  make  the  city,  as  he 
believed,  untenable  by  a  Roman  army.  '  For  he 
preferred  ever  to  fight  on  the  open  plain,  rather 
than  to  be  entangled  in  the  artifices  and  me- 
chanical contrivances  which  belong  to  the  attack 
and  defence  of  besieged  cities.' 
Totiia's  About   this   time   an    event    happened    which 

towards      showed  iu  a  striking  light  the  policy  of  Totila 
criminal,    towards  the  Italians.     A  countryman  of  Calabria 
appeared   in   the   royal   tent,    demanding  justice 

Ch.  15. 

Discipline  of  the  Gothic  Army,  457 

upon  one  of  the  Gothic  Kings  body-guard  who  bookv 
had  violated  his  daughter.  The  offence  was  ad- 
mitted, and  the  offender  was  put  in  ward  till 
Totila  should  decide  upon  his  punishment.  As 
it  was  generally  believed  that  this  punishment 
would  be  death,  some  of  the  men  of  highest  rank 
in  the  army  came  to  implore  the  King  not  to 
sacrifice  for  such  a  fault  the  life  of  a  brave  and 
capable  soldier.  With  gentle  firmness  Totila  re- 
fused their  request.  He  pointed  out  that  it  is 
easy  to  earn  a  character  for  good-nature  by  letting 
offenders  go  unpunished,  but  that  this  cheap  kind- 
ness is  the  ruin  of  good  government  in  the  state, 
and  of  discipline  in  the  army.  He  enlarged  on 
his  favourite  theme,  that  all  the  vast  advantages 
with  which  the  Goths  commenced  the  war  had 
been  neutralised  by  the  vices  of  Theodahad  ;  and 
on  the  other  hand,  that,  by  the  Divine  favour  and 
for  the  punishment  of  the  rapine  and  extortion 
of  their  foes,  the  Gothic  banner  had  in  a  mar- 
vellous way  been  raised  again  from  the  dust  in 
which  it  had  lain  drooping.  Now,  then,  let  the 
chiefs  choose  which  they  would  have,  the  safety 
of  the  whole  Gothic  state  or  the  preservation  of 
the  life  of  this  criminal.  Both  they  could  not 
have,  for  victory  would  be  theirs  only  so  long 
as  their  cause  was  good.  The  nobles  were  con- 
vinced by  his  words,  and  no  murmurs  were  heard 
when,  a  few  days  after,  the  ravisher  was  put  to 
death  and  his  goods  bestowed  on  the  maiden 
whom  he  had  wronged. 

458  The  Elevation  of  To  til  a, 

BOOKV.       Such  was  the  just  rule  of  the  barbarian  Kmg. 
Meanwhile  the  so-called  Eoman  officers,  shut  up 

Demorai-    '^  their  scvoral  fortresses,  seemed  intent  only  on 

isation  01  «>' 

the  impe-  plnndcrins:  the  country  which  they  could  not  defend. 

rial  army,     i  o  •^  «/ 

The  generals  feasted  themselves  at  gorgeous  ban- 
quets, where  their  paramours,  decked  with  the 
spoils  of  Italy,  flaunted  their  mercenary  beauty. 
The  soldiers,  dead  to  all  sense  of  discipline,  and 
despising  the  orders  of  such  chiefs,  wandered 
through  the  country  districts,  wherever  the  Goths 
were  not,  pillaging  both  villa  and  ^raedium,  and 
making  themselves  far  more  terrible  to  the  rural 
inhabitants  than  the  Goths  from  whom  they  pro- 
fessed to  defend  them.  Thus  was  the  provincial, 
especially  he  who  had  been  a  rich  provincial,  of 
Italy  in  evil  case.  Totila  had  appropriated  his 
lands  and  was  receiving  the  revenues  which  they 
furnished,  and  all  his  moveable  property  was 
stolen  from  him  by  the  soldiers  of  John  or 
544-  The  state  of  the  country  became  at  length  so 

messaget?  intolerable  that  Constantian,  the  commandant  of 
us  iman.  ^^^q^^^^^  wroto  to  the  Empcror  that  it  was   no 
longer  possible  to  defend  his  cause  in  Italy;  and 
all  the  other  officers  set  their  hands  to  this  state- 
ment.    Of  this    state    of  discouragement   among 
his  enemies  Totila  endeavoured  to  avail  himself 
by  a  letter  which  he  addressed  at  this  time  to 
Totiia's      the  Homan  Senate.     '  Surely,'  he  said,  '  you  must 
the  Senate,  in  thcsc  cvil  days  sometimes  remember  the  benefits 
which  you  received,  not  so  very  long  ago,  at  the 

Totilas  Letter  to  the  Septate.  459 

hands    of    Theodoric    and    Amalasuntha.       Dear  book  v. 

KomansM    compare  the  memory  of  those   rulers  '. L 

with  what  you  now  know  of  the  kindness  of  the  ^'^'^" 
Greeks  towards  their  subjects.  You  received  these 
men  with  open  arms,  and  how  have  they  repaid 
you  1  With  the  griping  exactions  of  Alexander 
the  Logothete,  with  the  insolent  oppressions  of 
the  petty  military  tyrants  who  swagger  in  your 
streets.  Do  not  think  that  as  a  young  man  ^  I 
speak  presumptuously,  or  that  as  a  barbarian 
king  I  speak  boastfully  when  I  say  that  we  are 
about  to  change  all  this  and  to  rescue  Italy 
from  her  tyrants.  I  make  this  assertion,  not 
trusting  to  our  own  valour  alone,  but  believing 
that  we  are  the  ministers  of  Divine  justice  against 
these  oppressors,  and  I  implore  you  not  to  side 
against  your  champions  and  with  your  foes,  but 
by  such  a  conspicuous  service  as  the  surrender  of 
Kome  into  our  hands  to  wipe  out  the  remembrance 
of  your  past  ingratitude/ 

This  letter  was  entrusted  to  some  of  the  captive  Totiia's 
Romans,  with  orders  to  convey  it  to  the  Senate,  carded  in 
John  forbade  those  who  read  the  letter  to  return    °"^^' 
any  answer.     Thereupon  the  Gothic  King  caused 
several  copies  of  the  letter  to  be  made,  appended 
to  them  his  emphatic  assurances,  sealed  by  solemn 
oaths,  that  he  would  respect  the  lives  and  property 

^  'O  (f)iXoi  'Pa>ixaloi. 

^  ^Yfxwv  8e  oUadco   ixr)8e\s  /JLrjTe   vno   veov  <pi\oTifxias  to,  ovci^r]  ravra 

e'y  avTovs  (jiepfa-dai.  This  expression  (yeov)  confirms  us  in  the 
belief  that  Totila  was  at  this  time  (544)  not  over  thirty ;  and 
that  he  was  therefore  probably  born  at  earliest  about  515. 

460  The  Elevation  of  Totila. 

BOOKV.  of  such  Eomans    as   should   surrender,  and   sent 

^ 1  the  letters   at   night   by  trusty   messengers  into 

^^^'  the  City.  When  day  dawned  the  Forum  and  all 
the  chief  streets  of  Eome  were  found  to  be  pla- 
carded with  Totila' s  proclamation.  The  doers  of 
the  deed  could  not  be  discovered,  but  John,  sus- 
pecting the  Arian  priests  of  complicity  in  the 
affair,  expelled  them  from  the  City, 
Totila  Finding  that  this  was  the  only  answer  to  his 

Eome  and  appeal,  Totila  resolved  to  undertake   in   regular 
form  the  siege  of  Eome.     He  was  at  the   same 
time  occupied  in  besieging  Otranto,  which  he  was 
anxious  to  take,  as  it  was  the    point   at   which 
Byzantine   reinforcements   might  be  expected  to 
land,  in  order  to  raise  the  standard  of  the  Empire 
in  Calabria.     He  considered,  however,  that  he  had 
soldiers  enough  for  both  enterprises,  and,  leaving 
a    small    detachment   to   prosecute   the    siege    of 
Otranto,  he  marched  with  the  bulk  of  his  army 
to  Eome. 
Justinian        Now  at  length  did  Justinian,  with  grief  and 
sendBeii-  sighiug,  come  to  the  conclusion  that  only  one  man 
agahfto     could  cope  with  this  terrible  young  Gothic  cham- 
^^'        pion,  and  that,   even   though  the   Persians  were 
pressing  him  hard  in  the  East,  Belisarius   must 
return  to  Italy. 

But,  before  we  begin  to  watch  the  strange  duel 
between  the  veteran  Byzantine  General  and  the 
young  Gothic  King,  before  we  turn  the  pages 
which  record  another  and  yet  another  siege  of 
Eome,  we  must  devote  a  little  time  to  the  con- 

Be  lis  arms  to  be  recalled.  461 

templation  of  the  figure  of  one  who,  more  power-  book  v. 
fully  than  either  BeHsarius  or  Totila,  moulded  the  °' 
destinies  of  Italy  and  Western  Europe.  The 
great  Law-giver  of  European  monasticism  died 
just  at  this  time.  Let  us  leave  for  a  space  the 
marches  and  counter-marches  of  Roman  and  Bar- 
barian, and  stand  in  spirit  with  the  weeping 
monks  of  Monte  Cassino  by  the  death-bed  of 
Benedict  of  Nursia. 




Sources : — 
BOOKV.       ^Vita   et   Miracula  Venerabilis   Benedicti,'  written  by 
Ch.  16.    Pope  Gregory  I  in  Latin  about  594,  and  translated  into 
Greek  by  his  successor  Zacharias  (741—752).     (The  edition 
here  used  is  that  printed  at  Venice  1723.) 

Regula  S.  p.  Benedicti  (Migne's  edition,  Paris,  1866). 

Guides : — 
Les  Moines  d'Occident,  par  le  Comte  de  Montalembert 
(i860).    Les  Monasteres  B^nedictins  d'ltalie,  par  Alphonse 
Dantier  (1867).     Milman's  History  of  Latin  Christianity, 
Book  III.  Chap.  vi. 

The  world-  By  devious  ways,  and  through  a  tangle  of  for- 
of  Bene-  gotten  or  but  half-remembered  names,  we  are  come 
to  a  broad  highway  trodden  by  the  feet  of  many 
reverent  generations  and  made  illustrious  by  some 
of  the  best-known  figures  in  the  history  of  me- 
diaeval Christianity.  Even  in  the  annals  of  mo- 
nasticism  the  saintly  Severinus  of  Noricum,  the 
studious  Cassiodorus  of  Squillace,  are  but  faintly 
remembered  ;  but  every  one  who  knows  anything 
of  the  spirit  of  the  Middle  Ages  is  familiar  with 
the  name  of  Benedict  of  Nursia.  His  face  and 
the  faces  of  his  sister  Scholastica,  and  his  pupils 

Renown  of  Benedict.  463 

Maurus  and  Placidus,  pourtrayed  by  some  of  the  book  v. 

1  1  n     1  1  Ch.  16. 

greatest    painters   whom    the   world    has   known,  

look  softly  down  from  the  walls  of  endless  Italian 
galleries.    His  great  monastery  on  Mount  Cassino 
was   for   centuries,   scarcely   less  than  Kome    and 
Jerusalem,  the  object  of   the  reverent  homage  of 
the  Christian  world.     More  than   either  of  those 
two  historic  cities  did  it  enshrine  a  still  existing 
ideal  for  the  formation  of  what  was  deemed  the 
highest  type  of  human  character.     In  the  ninth 
century  the   great  Emperor    Charles   ordered   an 
enquiry  to    be  made,   as   into    a  point   requiring 
abstruse    and    careful    research,    *  Whether   there 
were  any  monks  anywhere  in  his  dominions  who 
professed   any  other  rule  than  the  rule   of  Saint 
Benedict  \'     And   so  it   continued   to  be,  till   in 
the  thirteenth  century  those  great  twin  brethren, 
Francis    and    Domioic,    rose   above   the   horizon, 
and   the   holiness   of   the   reposeful   Monk   paled 
before  the  more  enthusiastic  holiness  of  the  Friar. 
But  during  the   intervening   centuries,  from  the 
ninth  to  the  thirteenth,  all  Western  monks,  from 
Poland    to    Portugal    and   from    Cumberland   to 
Calabria,   looked  with  fond  eyes  of  filial   obedi- 
ence   and  admiration  to   that   Campanian  hill  on 
which  their  founder  had  fixed  his  home  and  of 
which  a  monastic  Isaiah  might  have  prophesied, 
'  From   Cassino  shall   go  forth  the  law,  and  the 
word  of  the  Lord  from  the  mountain  of  Benedict/ 

^  See  Guizot's  History  of  Civilisation  in  France  :  Lecture 
15,  ad  fin. 

BOOK  V.       The  life  of  Saint  Benedict  was  written  in  Latin 

Ch.  16. 

464  Saint  Benedict, 

The  life  of  Saint  Benedict  was 
by  Pope  Gregory  the  Great,  whose  birth-year  was 
Pope         perhaps  the  same  as  the  death-year  of  the  Saint. 

Gregory  s     ^  i  </ 

biography  guch  a  book,  the  biography  of  the  greatest  Monk, 
Benedict,  written  by  the  greatest  Pope,  obtained  of  course 
a  wide  and  enduring  popularity  in  the  West ;  and 
in  order  that  the  East  might  share  the  benefit,  a 
later  pope,  Zacharias,  translated  it  into  Greek. 
It  is  entitled  *  The  Life  and  Miracles  of  the 
Venerable  Benedict,  Founder  and  Abbot  of  the 
Monastery  which  is  called  (of)  the  Citadel  of  the 
Province  of  Campania^/  As  we  might  have  ex- 
pected from  the  title,  supernatural  events  occupy 
a  large  place  in  the  narrative,  and  we  find  our- 
selves at  once  confronted  with  one  of  those  prob- 
lems as  to  the  growth  of  belief  which  so  often 
perplex  the  historian  of  the  Middle  Ages.  We 
have  not  here  to  deal  with  the  mere  romancing 
of  some  idle  monk,  manufacturing  legends  for 
the  glory  of  his  order  about  a  saint  who  had 
been  in  his  tomb  for  centuries.  Pope  Gregory 
was  all  but  a  contemporary  of  St.  Benedict,  and 
he  professes  to  have  derived  his  materials  from 
four  disciples  and  successors  of  the  Saint,  Con- 
stantino, Valentinian,  Simplicius,  and  Honoratus. 
In  these  circumstances  the  merely  mythical  factor 
seems   to   be   excluded   from  consideration ;    and 

'  'Vita  et  Miracula  venerabilis  Benedicti  conditoris,  vel 
Abbatis  Monasterii,  quod  appellatur  Arcis  Provinciae  Cam- 
paniae.'  Yel  is  no  doubt  here  equivalent  to  et^  as  so  often  in 
post-classical  Latin. 

Pope  Gregory  s  Biography.  465 

there  is  something  in  the  noble  character  of  Gre-  book  v. 

gory  and  of  the  friends  of  Benedict  which  makes  '. L 

a  historian  unwilling  to  adopt,  unless  under  abso- 
lute compulsion,  the  theory  of  a  *  pious  fraud.' 
Yet  probably  not  even  the  most  absolutely  sur- 
rendered intellect  in  the  Catholic  Church  accepts 
all  the  marvels  here  recorded  as  literally  and  ex- 
actly true.  It  is  useless  to  attempt  to  rationalise 
them  down  into  the  ordinary  occurrences  of  every- 
day life.  Yet  in  recounting  them  one  would  not 
wish  to  seem  either  to  sneer  or  to  believe.  Our 
best  course  doubtless  is  to  give  them  in  Pope 
Gregory's  own  words,  studying  them  as  phenomena 
of  the  age,  and  remembering  that  whatever  was 
the  actual  substratum  of  fact,  natural  or  super- 
natural, this  which  we  find  here  recorded  was  what 
one  of  the  greatest  minds  of  the  sixth  century, 
the  architect  of  the  mediaeval  Papacy  and  the 
restorer  of  the  Christianity  of  Britain,  either 
himself  believed  or  wished  to  see  beheved  by  his 

In  the  high  Sabine  uplands,  nearly  two  thou-  Benedict's 
sand  feet  above  the   sea-level,  under  the  shadow  place. 
of  the  soaring  Monti  Sibellini,  which  are  among 
the  highest   peaks  of  the    Apennine   range,   lies 
the  little  city  of  Norcia,  known   in  Eoman    days 
as  the  miinicijpium  of  Nursia^,  and    familiar  to 

^  Has  this  name  any  connection  with  that  of  the  Etruscan 
goddess  Nursia,  so  well  known  by  Macaulay's  lines — 

'And  hang  round  Nursia's  altars 
The  golden  shields  of  Rome '  1 

VOL.  IV.  H  h 

466  Saint  Benedict, 

BOOKV.  diligent  students  of  the  Aeneid  as  'frigida  Nur- 
°'  sia.'  A  little  stranded  city,  apparently,  in  its 
sequestered  Apennine  valley :  its  nearest  point 
of  contact  with  the  world  of  politics  and  of  war 
would  be  Spoleto,  about  twenty  miles  to  the  west 
of  it  on  the  great  Flaminian  Way,  and  Spoleto 

cir.  480.  was  eighty  miles  from  Eome.  Here  then  in 'frigid 
Nursia/  about  four  years  after  Odovacar  made 
himself  supreme  in  Italy,  was  born  to  a  noble 
Eoman  a  son  who  received  the   prophetic  name 

Sent  to      of  Benedict,  '  the  blessed  one.'     He  was  sent  as  a 


boy  to  Eome  to  pursue  his  studies,  and  when  there 
he  probably  saw  the  statues  of  Odovacar  over- 
thrown and  the  Forum  placarded  with  the  pro- 
clamations of  the  new.  ruler  of  Italy,  Theodoric. 
But  the  young  Nursian  was  thinking,  not  of  the 
rise  and  fall  of  empires,  but  of  the  salvation  of 
his  own  soul.  He  was  horrified  by  what  he  saw 
of  the  wickedness  of  the  great  city ;  he  feared  that 
if  he  became  imbued  with  what  there  passed  for 
wisdom  he  too  should  one  day  rush  headlong  into  all 
its  vices:  he  elected  rather  to  be  poor  and  ignorant, 
and  decided  on  quitting  Eome  and  assuming  the 
Eetiresto  gaib  of  a  mouk.     He  set  out  for  'the  desert,'  that 

the  valley    ,  •iii«i  ii  i 

of  the  is,  for  the  wild,  thinly-peopled  country  by  the 
upper  waters  of  the  Anio,  and  (pathetic  evidence 
of  the  still  tender  years  of  the  fervid  anchorite) 
the  faithful  nurse  who  had  come  with  him  to 
Eome  insisted  on  following  him  to  his  retirement. 

At  Efide.  Before  they  reached  the  actual  mountain  solitudes 
they  came  to  the  little  town  of  Efide  (the  modern 

He  leaves  Rome,  467. 

village  of  Affile),  and  there  finding  many  devout  book  v. 
men  who  listened  with  sympathy  to  his  sorrows  — \ — L 
and  aspirations,  he  yielded  to  their  advice  and 
consented  to  take  up  his  abode  near  them,  m 
some  chamber  attached  to  the  church  of  St. 
Peter  \  While  he  was  dwelling  here  the  first  First 
exhibition  of  his  miraculous  powers  made  him 
famous  through  all  the  surrounding  district  and 
drove  him  into  yet  deeper  solitude.  His  faithful 
nurse  had  borrowed  from  some  neighbours  a  sieve 
to  sift  some  corn  with,  and  this  sieve,  made  not  of 
wood  but  earth  en  ware  2,  had  been  carelessly  left  on 
the  table,  by  a  fall  from  which  it  was  broken  in 
two.  The  nurse  wept  over  the  broken  implement, 
and  the  youthful  saint,  taking  the  fragments  from 
her  hand  and  retiring  for  prayer,  found  when  he 
rose  from  his  knees  the  sieve  so  restored  that  no 
trace  of  the  fracture  could  be  discerned.  So  great 
was  the  admiration  of  the  inhabitants  at  this 
marvel  that  they  hung  up  the  miraculous  sieve 
at  the  entrance  of  the  church,  and  there  it  re- 
mained for  many  years,  till  it  perished,  like  many 
more  precious  treasures,  in  the  waves  of  the  Lom- 
bard invasion  ^. 

^  '  Multisque  honestioribus  viris  caritate  se  illic  detinentibug, 
in  beati  Petri  ecclesia  demorarentur.'  I  presume  that  this 
means,  as  is  stated  above,  some  chamber  under  the  same  roof  as 
the  church. 

"^  A  sieve  made  of  earthenware  seems  to  us  a  very  unhandy 
implement :  but  there  seems  to  be  no  choice  but  thus  to 
describe  a  '  capisterium '  which  could  be  also  spoken  of  as  a 
'  vas  fractum.' 

^  I  have  said  that  I  do  not  propose  to  rationalise  about  these 
H  h  2 

.  468  Saint  Benedict. 

BOOKv.       The  fame  of  this  miracle  brought  to  Benedict 

'         more  visitors  and  more  of  the  praise  of  this  world 

He  with-    ^|,g^j^  i^g  could  bear.      His  mind   reverted   to  its 

draws  to 

Subiaco.  original  design,  he  determined  to  be  absolutely- 
unknown,  and  flying  secretly  from  his  nurse,  he 
crossed  the  little  ridge  of  hills  which  separates 
Affile  from  Subiaco  and  from  the  deep  wild  gorge  of 
the  Anio.  Subiaco  \  the  Sublacus  or  Sublaqueum  of 
the  Eomans,  derives  its  name  from  the  lakes  which 
had  been  formed  there  by  Nero,  whose  stately 
villa  was  mirrored  in  those  artificial  waters.  We 
have  already  had  occasion  to  notice  it  in  connection 
with  the  story  of  the  Eoman  aqueducts.  It  was 
about  three  miles  above  the  place  where  the  turbid 
waters  of  the  Anio  Nov  us  were  diverted  from  the 
river-bed  into  the  aqueduct  which  bore  that  name, 
and  some  twelve  miles  above  the  more  serene  and 
purer  fountains  of  the  Claudia  and  the  Marcia. 
Situated  about  forty-four  miles  from  Eome,  in  a 
precipitous  and  thickly- wooded  valley,  Sublaqueum 
was  the  sort  of  place  which  an  artistic  Emperor 
like  Nero,  who  tried  to  make  a  solitude  even  round 
his  golden  house  in  Eome,  might  naturally  resort 
to  in  the  First  Century,  even  as  Popes  made  it  the 
scene  of  their  villeggiatura  in  later  centuries,  and 
even  as  artists  from  all  countries  now  throng  to  it 

miracles :  but  it  seems  to  me  quite  possible  that  here  the 
preservation  in  the  church  porch  of  so  humble  a  memorial  of 
a  great  saint's  residence  at  Efide  has  itself,  without  bad-  faith 
anywhere,  given  rise  to  the  story  of  the  miracle. 

^  As  Subiaco  was  only  5^  miles  from  Affile,  it  is  difficult  to 
understand  why  St.  Benedict  was  not  followed  by  his  friends. 

He  receives  the  monastic  habit.  469 

to  transfer  to  their  canvas  the  picturesque  outlines  book  v. 
of  its  rocks,  its  woods,  and  its  castles.     But  during  : L 

the  convulsions  of  the  Fifth  Century,  when  wealthy 
pleasure-lovers  were  few,  it  might  easily  sink  into 
solitude  and  decay  :  and  hence  no  doubt  it  was 
that  when  Benedict,  somewhere  about  the  year 
495,  sought  its  recesses,  a  few  rough  peasants  and 
some  scattered  anchorites  formed  its  whole  popu- 
lation, and  his  retirement  thither  could  be  spoken 
of  by  his  biographer  as  a  retreat  into  the  desert. 

Here  he  was  met  by  a  monk  named  Romanus,  Receives 
who,  hearing  of  his  desires  after  a  solitary  life,  tic  habit 
bestowed  upon  him  the  monastic  habit  and  led  him  manus. 
to  a  narrow  cave  at  the  foot  of  a  hill,  where  tlie 
delicately  nurtured  youth  spent   the    next  three  Dwells  for 

three  years 

years,  hidden  from  the  eyes  of  all  men,  and  with  in  a  cave. 
the  place  of  his  retreat  known  only  to  the  faithful 
Romanus.  This  only  friend  dwelt  in  a  monastery 
not  far  off^  on  the  table-land  overlooking  the 
river.  With  pious  theft  he  abstracted  a  small 
portion  from  each  monastic  meal,  and  on  stated 
days  hastened  with  his  store  to  the  brow  of  the 
hill.  As  no  path  led  down  to  the  cave  of  the 
recluse,  the  basket  of  provisions  was  tied  to  the 
end  of  a  long  rope,  to  which  a  bell  was  also 
attached,  and  thus  the  slowly-lowered  vessel  by 
its  tinkling  sound  called  the  Saint  from  prayer 
to  food.     '  But  one  day  the  Ancient  Enemy  [the 

*  *  Under  the  rule  of  Theodaliad'  or  'Adeodatus,'  say  the 
varying  MSS.  of  Gregory  :  but  neither  rule  seems  to  be  known 
to  ecclesiastical  commentators. 

470  Sainl  Benedict. 

OOK  V.  Devil],  envying  the  charity  of  one  brother  and  the 
— — '-  refreshment  of  the  other,  v^hen  he  saw  the  rope 
lov^ered,  threw  a  stone  and  broke  the  bell.  Ko- 
manus,  however,  still  continued  to  minister  to  him 
at  the  stated  hours.' 
His  wants  After  a  time,  from  some  unexplained  cause,  the 
byadis-  ministrations  of  Eomanus  ceased \  and  the  Saint, 
byter.  iuscnsible  to  the  wants  of  the  body,  might  easily 
have  perished  of  hunger.  But  a  certain  Presbyter 
living  a  long  way  from  Subiaco,  having  prepared 
for  himself  a  hearty  meal  for  the  next  day,  the 
festival  of  Easter,  saw  the  Lord  in  a  night  vision 
and  heard  him  say,  *  While  thou  art  preparing 
for  thyself  these  delicacies,  a  servant  of  mine  in  a 
cavern  near  Sublaqueum  is  tortured  with  hunger/ 
The  Presbyter  rose  at  once  and  set  off  on  that  Easter 
morning  with  the  provisions  in  his  hand.  Up 
hill  and  down  dale  he  went,  till  at  last,  scrambling 
down  the  face  of  the  precipice,  he  found  the  cave 
where  dwelt  the  holy  man.  After  they  had  prayed 
and  talked  together  for  some  time  the  Presbyter 
said  to  the  Hermit,  '  Eise  and  let  us  eat:  to-day  is 
Easter-day.'  Benedict,  who  in  his  solitude  and 
his  perpetual  fastings  had  long  lost  count  of  Lent 
and  Easter-tide,  said,  *  An  Easter-day  to  me  truly, 
since  I  have  been  allowed  to  look  upon  thy  face.' 
The  other  answered,  '  In  very  truth  this  is  the 

^  St.  Gregory's  words  might  suggest  the  idea  that  Romanus 
died  at  this  time  :  '  Cum  vero  jam  omnipotens  Deus  et  Romanum 
vellet  a  labore  quiescere,  et  Benedicti  vitam  in  exemplum 
hominibus  demonstrare.'  But  in  the  Life  of  St.  Maurus  by 
Faustus,  Romanus  is  represented  as  outliving  Benedict. 

At  Subiaco.  471 

Easter-day,  the  day  of  the  Eesiirrection   of   the  book  v. 
Lord,  upon  which  it  becomes  thee  not   to    keep  -1— — - 
fast.     Eat  then,  for  therefore  am  I  sent,  that  we 
may  share  together  the  gifts  of  the  Lord  Almighty/ 
So  they  ate  and  drank  together,   and  after  long 
converse  the  Presbyter  departed. 

It  was  soon  after  this  that  some  shepherds  of  Tiie^^ep- 

■^  nerds  bring 

the  neighbourhood  discovered  the  cave,  and  found  ^^"^  food, 
what  they  at  first  supposed  to  be  a  wild  beast 
coiled  up  among  the  bushes.  When  they  found 
that  a  man,  and  a  holy  man,  was  enveloped  in 
that  garment  of  skins,  they  listened  eagerly  to 
his  preaching  :  and  from  this  time  forward  he  was 
never  left  in  want  of  food,  one  or  other  of  the 
shepherds  bringing  him  such  victuals  as  he  needed, 
and  receiving  in  return,  from  his  lips,  the  message 
of  eternal  life. 

After  the  unnatural  calm  and  utter  absorption  The  temp- 
in  the  contemplation  of  heavenly  things  which 
had  marked  the  Saint's  first  sojourn  in  the  cave, 
there  came  a  storm  of  terrible  temptation.  In 
those  years  of  abstraction  the  dreamy  child  had 
grown  into  a  man,  with  the  hot  blood  of  Italy 
in  his  veins ;  and  his  imprisoned  and  bufieted 
manhood  struggled  hard  for  victory.  Soft  bird- 
like voices  sounded  in  his  ears,  the  form  of  a 
beautiful  woman  rose  before  his  eyes,  everything 
conspired  to  tempt  him  back  from  that  dreary 
solitude  into  the  sweet  world  which  he  had  quitted 
before  he  knew  of  its  delights.  He  had  all  but 
yielded  to  the  temptation,  he  had  all  but  turned 

472  Saint  Benedict. 

BOOKV.  his  back   upon   the  desert,  wlien  a  sudden  thrill 

J^ L  of  emotion  recalled  him  to  his  old  resolve.     Bent 

on  punishing  the  rebellious  body  which  had  so 
nearly  conquered  the  soul,  he  plunged  naked  into 
a  dense  thicket  of  thorns  and  nettles,  and  rolled 
himself  in  them  till  all  his  skin  was  torn  and 
smarting.  The  pain  of  the  body  relieved  the 
anguish  of  the  soul,  and,  according  to  the  lovely 
poetical  fancy  of  after  ages,  when  seven  centuries 
later  his  great  imitator  St.  Francis  visited  the 
spot,  the  thorns  which  had  been  the  instrument 
of  St.  Benedict's  penance  were  miraculously  turned 
to  roses  \ 
Benedict's       From  a  hint  which  the  Saint  himself  has  given 

raaturer  •     p  i  i  •  •      i 

judgment  US,  wc  may  inter  that  his  own  mature  judgment 
his  youth-  condemned  his  early  impetuosity  in  facing  while 
terities.  yet  a  boy  the  hardships  and  temptations  of  an 
anchorite's  life  in  the  wilderness.  He  says  in  the 
first  chapter  of  his  Kule,  'Hermits  are'  [by 
which  he  evidently  means  'should  be']  *  men  who 
are  not  in  the  first  fervour  of  their  noviciate, 
but  who  having  first  learned  by  a  long  course 
of  monastic  discipline  and  by  the  assistance  of 
many  brethren  how  to  fight  against  the  Devil, 
afterwards  step  forth  alone  from  the  ranks  of  their 
brethren  to  engage  him  in  single  combat,  God 
himself  being  their  aid  against  the  sins  of  the 
flesh  and  thoughts  of  evil  ^.' 

^  The  descendants  of  which  roses  are  still  to  be  seen  in  the 
convent  garden. 

^  This  metaphor  of  warriors  fighting  single-handed  in  front 

Abbot  of  Vicovaro,  473 

The  fame  of  the  young  Saint  was  now  spread  book  v. 

Ch.  16. 

abroad  throughout  the  valley,  and  the  inmates 
of  the  convent  of  Varia^  (now  Vicovaro),  about  ^^^^^^ 
twenty  miles  lower  down  the  stream,  having  lost  ^^^^°f" 
their  abbot  by  death,  besought  Benedict  to  come  ^^"a- 
and  preside  over  them.  Long  he  refused,  feeling 
sure  that  his  ways  of  thinking  and  acting  would 
never  agree  with  theirs.  For  these  monks  evi- 
dently belonged  to  that  class  which  he  in  after 
days  2  described  as  *the  evil  brood  of  the  Sara- 
baitae.'  This  name,  of  Egyptian  origin,  denoted 
those  who  liad  turned  back^  from  the  rigour  of 
their  monastic  profession  while  still  wearing  the 
monastic  garb.  '  Their  law,'  as  he  said,  '  is  the 
gratification  of  their  own  desires.  Whatever  they 
take  a  fancy  to  they  call  holy :  the  unlawful  is 
that  to  which  they  feel  no  temptation^/ 

These  men,  in  a  temporary  fit  of  penitence  a.nd  The  monks 
desire  after  better  things,  chose  Benedict  for  their  against  his 
Abbot,  and   he    at   length  yielded  to   their  will. 
But  soon  the  passion  for  reform  died  away.     They 
found  it  intolerable  to    be   reprimanded   at   each 
little  deviation  to  the  right  hand  or  to  the  left 

of  an  army  is  well  illustrated  by  the  stories  in  Procopius  of 
similar  combats  between  Gothic  and  Koman  champions. 

^  Gregory  does  not  mention  the  name  of  the  convent,  but 
tradition  identifies  it  with  Varia. 

"^  Regula,  cap.  i. 

^  '  Sarabaitae  id  est  renuitae  qui  jugum  regularis  disciplinae 
renuunt ;'  Odo  of  Clugny,  quoted  in  the  Notes  to  the  Regula, 
p.  254  (ed.  Migne). 

*  The  same  sentiment  is  expressed  in  two  well-known  lines 
of  Hudibras. 

474  Saint  Benedict. 

BOOKV.  from  the  path  of  ascetic  virtue.  Angry  words 
"'  were  bandied  about  in  whispers,  as  each  accused 
the  other  of  having  counselled  the  mad  design 
of  making  this  austere  recluse  from  the  wilder- 
ness their  Abbot.  At  length  their  discontent 
reached   such   a   height    that    they   resolved    on 

They  at-     poisouiug   him.      Wlicu   the   cup   containing   the 

poison  deadly  draught  was  offered  to  the  reclining 
Abbot  ^  he,  according  to  monastic  usage,  made  the 
sign  of  the  cross  in  act  of  benediction.  The 
moment  that  the  holy  sign  was  made,  as  if  a 
stone  had  fallen  from  his  hands,  the  cup  was 
shivered  to  pieces  and  the  wine  was  spilt  on  the 
ground.  ,  Per